Donald Trump is causing a spike in naturalization applications from Latinos

When you spend months otherizing a racial minority, members of that racial minority will feel incentivized to deny you political power.

Go figure.

According to a report published today in the New York Times, Donald Trump’s overtly racist rhetoric against Latinos has led to a spike in naturalization applications from Latino immigrants who are in the country legally and eligible to apply for citizenship — a process that usually takes roughly five months, meaning that they will be eligible to register and vote this November.

As the Times reports:

No Person is Illegal, via miguelb / Flickr

No Person is Illegal, via miguelb / Flickr

Over all, naturalization applications increased by 11 percent in the 2015 fiscal year over the year before, and jumped 14 percent during the six months ending in January, according to federal figures. The pace is picking up by the week, advocates say, and they estimate applications could approach 1 million in 2016, about 200,000 more than the average in recent years.

“I want to vote so Donald Trump won’t win,” said Ms. Villegas, 32, one of several hundred legal residents, mostly Mexicans, who crowded one recent Saturday into a Denver union hall. Volunteers helped them fill out applications for citizenship, which this year are taking about five months for federal officials to approve. “He doesn’t like us,” she said.

Mary Victorio, 22, a Mexican-born student at the University of Colorado, Denver, said she would vote Democrat but was grateful in one way to Mr. Trump. “He gave us that extra push we needed to get ready to vote, to prove to people who see us negatively they are wrong,” she said.

This finding underscores the predicament the Republican Party found itself in following its defeat in 2012. In the long term, they knew they would have to make inroads with the nation’s fastest-growing demographic, but in the short term Latinos were voting so heavily Democratic that providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants would have the effect of inflating Democrats’ demographic advantage. This was one of the many reasons why the GOP’s talk of backing comprehensive immigration reform, among other odes to moderation they made following their 2012 loss, was doomed to be empty.

Donald Trump keeps repeating the absurd claim that he’ll win the Latino vote (and the black vote, and the female vote) in November because he will be “the greatest jobs president,” among other things. But if you create and continue to reinforce the perception that you just plain don’t like a group of people, it doesn’t matter all that much what you have to say to them about jobs. Donald Trump is the closest thing we’ve had to an avowed white nationalist candidate for president since George Wallace. It was entirely predictable that his campaign would engender opposition from communities of color.

Jon Green graduated from Kenyon College with a B.A. in Political Science and high honors in Political Cognition. He worked as a field organizer for Congressman Tom Perriello in 2010 and a Regional Field Director for President Obama's re-election campaign in 2012. Jon writes on a number of topics, but pays especially close attention to elections, religion and political cognition. Follow him on Twitter at @_Jon_Green, and on Google+. .

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