Although they may not realize it, some immigrants may have Donald Trump to thank for the greatest gift they can imagine – citizenship in the United States of America.

Even as his political opponents have used his tough immigration stance against him, painting him as a xenophobic racist, Trump’s candidacy has spurred a rush among many to line up and begin the process to become American.

Nearly 9 million legal permanent residents, 4 million of whom are Hispanic, are currently eligible to apply for naturalization.

One native Colombian who has lived in Florida for more than two decades and owns a small company says, “Trump so negative about immigrants. We’ve got to speak up,” is finally taking the step and filing out his paperwork.

Trump’s position has been under fire throughout the nearly year-long campaign, but he has remained consistent in proposing a three-point plan: build a wall to protect the southern border, deport those living in the U.S. illegally, and limit the funds they are able to send to their home country.

According to the Office of Citizenship and Immigration Services within the Department of Homeland Security, applications are up 14 percent over the last six months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014.

With some exceptions based on age or marital status, an applicant to become a citizen by naturalization must be at least 18-years of age, have been a permanent resident for five years, complete a 21-page application, be fingerprinted, and pass both a basic English-language and civics test. The fee is close to $700.

Advocates like iAmerica Action, an immigrants’ rights group, say the fear of a Trump presidency is motivating many immigrants to seek naturalization.

A local campaign has “galvanized” nearly 775,000 eligible Latino immigrants to apply for citizenship, according to Erica Bernal of the National Association of Latino Elected Officials who said the tenor of the presidential campaign is driving the movement.

In the end, many immigrants who are raging against Trump now may end up thanking him later.



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