Naturalization push ahead of November election
A coalition of groups supporting immigrants has recruited teams of volunteers to help push programs they hope will add thousands of new U.S. citizens to the voter rolls in several states in time for the November presidential election.
The national push comes after Democratic President Barack Obama has failed to deliver on promised immigration reforms in his first years in office and his likely opponent, Mitt Romney, adopted harsh rhetoric on illegal immigration to win support from conservatives while campaigning for the GOP nomination.
The Department of Homeland Security says an estimated 12.6 million people were holding so-called green cards given to legal permanent U.S. residents in 2010, including 8.1 million people who already qualify for naturalization but have not applied for citizenship. Latinos, considered a Democratic-leaning constituency, account for the largest immigrant community.
Immigrants and other minority voters helped Obama to a comfortable win over Republican John McCain in the 2008 presidential election.
“The fastest growing segment of the American electorate is the Latino vote, and within Latinos, we are seeing very rapid growth of immigrant voters,” said Matt Barreto, a political science professor at the University of Washington. “In the 2012 election there is no doubt that the immigrant community will be incredibly relevant.”
Read the full story at NBC Latino