With anti-immigrant sentiment soaring among Republican presidential candidates, and immigration reform stalled in Congress and the courts, New York advocacy groups, with the support of the Obama administration, are redoubling their efforts in one area they can control: citizenship. They are pushing to convert as many of the country’s 8.8 million green card holders as possible into naturalized Americans.
The influence of the Latino voting bloc has added impetus to the drive. According to Latino Decisions, a polling and research firm, 80 percent of naturalized Latino citizens voted for President Obama in 2012. In New York State, there are approximately 915,000 legal permanent residents, more than 317,400 of whom are Latino, according to the Center for Migration Studies.
Nationally, nearly a third of legal permanent residents eligible to become citizens are Mexicans, a particular target of Mr. Trump, a Republican presidential candidate who has accused them of bringing drugs and crime into the United States and of being rapists.
This month, there were 14 citizenship events across the city compared with the usual eight, according to local advocacy groups.