Latinos take US citizenship to stop Donald Trump

Immigrants from Latin America want to get US citizenship now to avoid potential barriers imposed in the future.

Many Hispanic-Americans say they intend to adopt United States citizenship now to formalise their residency rights in case the Republican presidential frontrunner is elected.

Donald Trump has caused anger among US residents of Latin American origin by blaming Mexicans for bringing drug, rape and crime across the border.

The billionaire TV personality has also proposed building a wall across the border with its southern neighbour at Mexico’s expense.

Every week thousands of people take part in ceremonies that mark their new lives as US citizens, among them increasing numbers of Latinos.

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Many are using their status as citizens to potentially vote against Trump in November’s vote.

Al Jazeera spoke to one new citizen born in the Dominican Republic who said that being able to vote was one of the benefits of his new status.

“I believe in a democratic system and if I’m a citizen, I need to vote, and I want to vote,” said Joaquin Torres, who took citizenship almost as soon as he was allowed to do so, six years after he arrived in the country.

Others Al Jazeera spoke to had been eligible for citizenship for years but only made the move after Trump’s ascendency.

“He insults all of us immigrants, he says so many bad things, and I don’t understand how he thinks anyone would vote for him,” said Gladys Blanco, who came from Mexico 26 years ago.

Advocacy groups have stepped up voter registration drives in recent weeks and hope the Latino vote will determine the outcome of the 2016 vote.

Hispanic Americans make up 17 percent of the total population, with 55 million people. Historically the community has had a lower electoral participation rate.

Activists hope opposition to Trump’s rhetoric will galvanise more Latinos to become politically active. 

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Source: Al Jazeera