Thursday, July 05, 2007

Unintended Consequences

I found myself chuckling delightedly at this article in today's NY Times. After the extra hurdles thrown at immigrants when it comes to citizenship (dramatically higher application fees, totally revised English and history tests) and the ugliness of the debate on immigration reform, it turns out that legal immigrants are streaming to the Naturalization offices to file for citizenship in unprecedented numbers.

The number of legal immigrants seeking to become United States citizens is surging, officials say, prompted by imminent increases in fees to process naturalization applications, citizenship drives across the country and new feelings of insecurity among immigrants.

The citizenship campaigns have tapped into the uneasiness that legal immigrants, especially Hispanics, say is a result of months of debate over an immigration bill that failed last week in the Senate. Although illegal immigrants were the center of attention in the debate, it prompted many legal immigrants who have put down roots here to seek the security of citizenship, as well as its voting power, immigrants’ advocates said.
[Emphasis added]

What Mr. Tancredo and his supporters forgot is that there are also a lot of legal immigrants in this country, many from Mexico, and like all new citizens, they tend to vote more regularly than the native born citizens have in this country. Many are moving towards citizenship now to avoid the higher fees and to finally have a chance for their voices to be heard.

Mr. Álvarez, a real estate agent from Whittier, Calif., took down information from El Piolín’s show and registered in a citizenship workshop.

“I realized that I want to be able to vote and speak up for my people, because they are not getting enough support,” Mr. Álvarez said yesterday in a telephone interview. “I want everybody to be able to come out of the shadows.”

That ought to put Mr. Tancredo's knickers in a twist, eh?

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