The "New Americans?" II
Source: Republic Washington Bureau
Would-be citizens lining upDon't you just sense the love of this country driving these folks?
Backlash fears drive efforts to naturalize
WASHINGTON - More immigrants applied to become U.S. citizens last year than in any year since 1999, thanks largely to the national debate over border security and illegal immigration.
Government officials, advocates for immigrants and demographers said the increased applications mirrored a spike about a decade ago, the last time illegal immigration was so prominent in national politics.
The immigration debate has spurred fears of a backlash against immigrants as well as a concerted effort by community organizations to encourage eligible foreigners to become citizens.
Applications for citizenship increased more than 19 percent over the 2005 fiscal year, with 721,268 immigrants seeking to become naturalized in fiscal 2006, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials. Immigration officials also have proposed higher fees for naturalization and other services, which may be pushing immigrants to apply before costs rise. For the first quarter, citizenship applications are on pace to exceed last year’s totals.
During last year’s midterm election season, political ads played up the dangers of lax border security, and voters approved state referendums that restricted services for undocumented foreigners.
“You hear so many things on the news, and they’re passing so many laws, that I (was) afraid, I wondered what new law they’re going to pass tomorrow,” said Jeaneth Romero, 26, a preschool teacher from Queen Creek who became a citizen last March, 12 years after moving to Arizona from Sinaloa, Mexico.
“Maybe tomorrow, they’re going to pass a new law that says they’re not going to allow any more people here or they’re not going to allow me to become a citizen, so I better apply.”
Yeah, me neither. In fact I think this really exposes how these people see this country, like a big stupid ATM, and now that the big stupid ATM is making the slightest demands, now they feel compelled to become citizens.
Whoopee! Wow! What a deal for us, people who are ambivalent at best about every aspect of this country but the money getting to vote, how could that not be a good thing?
H/T immigration watchdog
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