The number of immigrants who have applied for U.S. citizenship in the first nine months of the current fiscal year is at its highest level in four years. From October 2015 to June 2016, 718,430 permanent residents have applied for naturalization, marking a 26 percent increase over the same time period a year before.
The largest annual increase was in fiscal year 2007 when 1.4 million people applied for U.S. citizenship, an 89 percent increase from the year before. In 1997, 1.4 million permanent residents also applied for naturalization, the second-largest increase, according to data from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
While some say that the increase is a reaction to Donald Trump’s statements, data shows that variations in terms of naturalization trends have always existed and are not necessarily correlated with the upcoming elections. This year, naturalized immigrants account for 61 percent of the Asian eligible voters and 24 percent of the Hispanic eligible voters. Data from the Pew Research Center shows that Hispanics and Asians who are naturalized U.S. citizens have higher voter turnout rates than their native counterparts. In the 2012 elections, naturalized Hispanics had a turnout rate of 54 percent, naturalized Asians had a rate of 49 percent, while the U.S.-born voters had a turnout rate of 43 percent.
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