Trump's US immigration stance sparks immigrant rush to become citizens

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Due to a fear (however unlikely it might be) that Donald Trump will become the next US President, tens of thousands of immigrants are racing to become US citizens, according to a report published by the New York Post. Compared with the final months of 2014, US citizenship applications increased by 14 percent in the final six months of 2015, according to data published by the Associated Press.

Maria Ponce of iAmerica Action, a Washington-based immigrant rights group that's partnering with other organizations to help those seeking citizenship as part of a national "Stand Up To Hate" campaign – said: "There's a real fear that Trump will become President of the US."

In a bid to stop Trump becoming President, immigrants are applying for US citizenship enabling them hopefully to vote at the Presidential elections in November 2016,. However, the path to obtaining US citizenship is not straightforward and many of those submitting applications will not gain citizenship in time.

Sanwar Ali, Editor of News comments about Donald Trump:

What does Donald Trump really think? Or perhaps more importantly what will Donald Trump do if he becomes President.

"The Donald" has upset so many people that it seems unlikely that he will ever become President. He has upset immigrants, minority groups, women, etc. He has support amongst many Republicans. However, he has also upset many Republicans. If he does become President, like with Obama it is to be hoped that Congress will not allow him to carry out his more extreme policies.

There is also the possibility that actually Trump is a liberal on immigration and is only saying many of the extreme things he is saying just to gain votes. On 3 March 2016 Trump had the following to say at a GOP debate on Fox Newz:

"One of the biggest problems we have is people go to the best colleges … as soon as they're finished, they get shoved out. They want to stay in this country," Trump said at the debate. "They want to stay here desperately. They're not able to stay here. For that purpose, we absolutely have to be able to keep the brainpower in this country."

US Immigrants can apply for Citizenship after five years on a Green Card

Legal permanent residents qualify to apply for citizenship, provided they have been in the US for five years (three years for those who are married to US citizens). The application form is 20 pages long; applicants are required to submit to fingerprinting and must also successfully complete a civics and English test. The US Government fees are $700.

Any immigrants who have recently started the citizenship application process have very little time to submit it should they want to vote in November's elections. In New York State, the deadline for registering to vote in the general election is October 14. However, should a prospective voter acquire citizenship shortly after the deadline, the new citizen has until October 29 to enrol on Empire State voter rolls.

According to a US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) customer representative, currently, processing times for a citizenship application in New York City takes up to eight months, taking applications way past the deadline for registering to vote.

Trump's tirade against immigrants

Trump's rise to the top of the polls for the Republican Party (sometimes referred to as the Grand Old Party (GOP)) nomination has featured many controversial comments aimed at immigrants, which has seen him brand Mexican 'rapists', threaten to build a wall on the US-Mexican border to keep immigrants out, and calling for a complete ban on Muslims entering the United States.

The real estate tycoon has also vowed to deport the estimated 11 million people currently living in the US illegally.

Edgar Ospina, a Columbian immigrant who recently applied for US citizenship having moved to the country in 1990, and who is the owner of a small flooring and remodelling company based in south Florida, said: "Trump is dividing us as a country. He's so negative about immigrants. We've got to speak up."

9 million green card holders eligible for US citizenship

According to the New York Post report, there are nearly 9 million US green card holders who qualify to obtain US citizenship, 4 million of whom are Hispanic.

Republican Luis Gutiérrez, poked fun at Donald Trump's Presidential campaign slogan by changing 'Make America Great Again" to 'Make America Hate Again,' said: "When immigrant communities feel they are under attack, they react with a large number of eligible immigrants becoming citizens and a large number of eligible citizens becoming voters."