The Mills Of The Gods
The Valley's cities are far smaller than San Diego or Los Angeles, which also experienced surges in the thousands of people becoming citizens in 2007. The Los Angeles area alone saw 78,454 new citizens sworn in last year – a 19 percent increase over the year before.
But the rate of growth in naturalizations in the Central Valley in just one year is startling for the inland region – and it helped fuel a 19 percent jump in new citizens throughout California last year. ...
At the southern end of the Central Valley, the Bakersfield area saw the number of new citizens rise from 1,357 in 2006 to 2,576 in 2007 – a leap of 90 percent, according to a Bee analysis of the most recent naturalization data available from USCIS, a branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Bakersfield's jump in naturalizations was the biggest percentage increase of any metropolitan region in the United States. ...
...the Central Valley city of Modesto ranked third, with a 73 percent increase. Fresno was fourth, with 69 percent, followed by Stockton, with 50 percent more new U.S. citizens.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services suggests that there are multiple factors at work:
The failure of immigration reform in Congress, the pending presidential election, a citizenship drive by Latino civil rights groups – and the desire to get applications in before a fee hike in August 2007 could all explain last year's increases, said Sharon Rummery, spokeswoman for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
While I agree that all of these factors enter into the equation, I would also add the disrespect shown immigrants shown by such public figures Lou Dobbs which galvanized those who have been here working, legally or not. And these new citizens? I predict they will vote and will become an important sector of the electorate for many years.
I guess Mr. Dobbs' diatribes actually have had an effect, although I doubt it was the one he intended.