More immigrants in Michigan want citizenship; election plays a role | Michigan Radio
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More immigrants in Michigan want citizenship; election plays a role

Oct 20, 2016

More immigrants in Michigan want to become U.S. citizens, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

According to the USCIS, the state saw an 11% boost in the number of citizenship applications for immigrants in the third quarter, compared to the same period last year -- to 4,178 applications.

Nationally, there has been a 32% increase in citizenship applications since this time last year.

You can click here for more information from the USCIS. 

Diego Bonesatti is the director of legal services with Michigan United, a nonprofit that works with immigrants. He says many of his client want to become citizens so they can vote.

“These are people who want to vote, who want to be more involved in what’s going on around them,” Bonesatti says.

Bonesatti says about a quarter of his clients mention Republican nominee Donald Trump's negative remarks about Mexican immigrants when they say they want to become citizens.

“There's people who are feeling that they were being called out by one of the candidates. They would be mentioning Donald Trump and their unhappiness,” he says. “A lot of people responded emotionally to it, to the things he said.”

Unfortunately, Bonesatti says the process of become a citizen can be intimidating. It includes a lengthy application, interviews, a test, and more.

"When my parents applied for naturalization, it was basically four pages, the application form," he says. "It's now 20 pages."

There are currently 7,500 applications pending in Michigan.