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Blustering Rhetoric May Bring More Latino Voters to the Polls

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon for KUT News

Latino voter groups say they are seeing an uptick in legal residents applying for citizenship so they can vote in this year’s presidential election.

The organization Mi Familia Vota held citizenship workshops in six different states this year, including Texas. The group says those events are more popular than ever.

Mi Familia Vota has been holding what they call “citizenship workshops” for years. In these workshops they help eligible legal permanent residents fill out paperwork so they can apply for U.S. citizenship.  The ultimate goal here is to get these new voters to also participate in elections and maybe even this year's presidential election.

Mi Familia Vota's Texas director, Carlos Duarte, says during this election cycle, it's been an easy sell.

"What we have seen recently is that the majority of the people that are applying for citizenship are doing so because they want to have a voice with regards to the 2016 presidential election." 

Duarte says legal residents have been responding to the rhetoric they are hearing in this presidential election, namely rhetoric from candidates like Donald Trump.

"When Mexico sends its people, they are not sending their best," Trump said in the speech announcing his Presidential campaign. "They are bringing drugs; they are bringing crime. They are rapists and some, I assume, are good people."

Duarte says that statements like that, in particular, are inspiring people to become citizens like never before.

"I have never seen this much energy in reaction to anti-immigrant and anti-Latino rhetoric. This is not new; we have had attacks to our community for several decades now. But this is the time that it really has become personal." 

Mi Famila Vota plans on continuing these events throughout the year. Advocates with the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials say their citizenship and voter registration services are also getting increasingly popular ahead of the election.

Ashley Lopez covers politics and health care. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @AshLopezRadio.