Tuesday, March 8, 2016
After the passage of the anti-immigrant Proposition 187 by California voters in 1994 followed by federal immigration and welfare reform legislation in 1996, naturalization rates increased, particularly among immigrants from Mexico. The Clinton administration sought to facilitate naturalization. As a result, with changing population demographics and an increase in naturalization, California saw an increasing numbers of Latinos were elected to the state legislature. That body regularly passes legislation, such as bills allowing undocumented immigrants to be eligible for drivers licenses and resident undocumented students to pay in-state fees at public colleges and universities. It is hard to imagine the California voters passing anything like a Proposition 187 today.
Julia Preston reports that it appears that Latino immigrants are responding to the Donald Trump campaign by seeking to naturalize so that they can vote against him in the November election. In the long run, Trump's incendiary rhetoric about Mexican immigrants may have a very different effect than he intended -- increasing political power and mobilization among Latino voters.