As the elections approach, data shows a growing movement of around 8.8 million immigrants becoming eligible for naturalization in time for the 2016 presidential election. This election stands out amongst the rest with the widening gulf between Democrats and Republicans presenting the possibility of deportation of as many as 11 million immigrants with the election of Republican candidates Trump or Cruz.
Breandan Magee, senior director of programs for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and Irish immigrant who naturalized earlier this year, told Latin Post “There are concerted efforts to mobilize people to naturalize and register to vote with the intention of fighting back against the hate expressed by candidates at the natural level as well as to defend President Obama’s actions on DAPA.”
Magee further added, “The general mood among immigrant populous is they feel the need to stand up for themselves and their families against what they see as blatant racism. They waited a long time to become citizens, but they felt a great need to do so now.”
Exemplified are Elena and Esteban Salgado, who have been in the US with the green cards for more than 20 years, and have not truly considered voting until this election. ICIRR organizers have identified around 350,000 immigrants living in Illinois who feel the same ways as the Salgados.
Potential citizens and voters have taken notice of Trump’s fiery rhetoric, deriding Mexicans as criminals and drug dealers and his promise to erect a massive wall to keep out all immigrants. Cruz, although not as outspoken on his views, still promises to deport millions of illegal immigrants.
The ICIRR has managed to mobilize nearly 1,000 permanent residents to gain citizenship specifically to vote in the November general elections.
Along with the incoming Supreme Court decision upholding Obama’s executive actions preventing the deportation of millions of undocumented immigrants, the upcoming year promises to show a radical shift in American immigration policy.