Citizenship Applications Surge as Immigration Talk Toughens


For nearly a decade, Yonis Bernal felt perfectly secure carrying a green card that allowed him to live and work legally in the United States.

Becoming a citizen was not a priority, he said. The need to study for an oralcivics test, pay a hefty application fee and miss work to complete the process discouraged Mr. Bernal, a truck driver who left El Salvador in 1990, from applying. Plus, he still felt attached to his home country.

He changed his mind after Donald J. Trump clinched the presidency.

“All this tough talk about immigrants got me thinking I still could be deported,” said Mr. Bernal, 49, a homeowner who is married and the father of two teenagers born in the United States. “You never know.”

Last week, he was among 3,542 immigrants who raised their right hands to take the oath at a naturalization ceremony inside the Los Angeles Convention Center.

In a year when the government has bolstered enforcement, backed curbing legal immigration and rescinded a program that protects undocumented youth from deportation, even a green card is not enough in the eyes of hundreds of thousands of immigrants applying for citizenship to protect themselves from removal and gain the right to vote.

Read more at the NY Times