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'Stand Up to Hate' Campaign Helping Immigrants Apply for US Citizenship, Overcome Barriers in Naturalization Process

First Posted: May 12, 2016 04:37 PM EDT
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Photo : Mark Apollo/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

"Stand Up To Hate" campaign members recently revealed they have aided some 12,781 people with their citizenship applications during the month of March.

During a recent telephone press call, the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), Latino Victory Foundation, Mi Familia Vota, iAmerica Action, SEIU, Unite Here! and UFCW members touched upon how they have tirelessly toiled in concert to remove barriers to naturalization.

Since the start of the New Year, the coalition held 305 events in 14 different states and reached over a half-million people through PSA's, social media posts, phone calls and emails.

Rep. Gutierrez Speaks out

"There is something unique and significant happening in immigrant communities and more broadly in the Latino community," said Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., who has also been central to the campaign and participated in events made in Nevada, Colorado, Illinois and New York. "There is a hunger for citizenship and it is driven by the desire to participate in this year's presidential election."

A longtime advocate for immigration reform, Gutierrez insists the recent tenor taken on in the immigration debate is like none he has heard before.

"I have done events on citizenship throughout my career, but there is something new going on now and I think we all know that the tone and tenor of the Presidential race has a lot to do with it," he said.

Trump's Hardline Immigration Stance on Record

Indeed, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has vowed to deport millions of immigrants if he is elected. The New York City real estate mogul and political neophyte has also pledged to build a wall along the Mexican border to further keep immigrants out.

"There is an urgency and excitement from the immigrant community to turn hate into engagement," said Astrid Silva, organizing director for the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. "People are energized and want to participate. There are 8.8 million lawful permanent residents who could apply for citizenship and help make a difference in November."

The plan now calls for all the new citizens to quickly register vote and readily take part in the upcoming race for the White House.

"We will ensure that these new Americans are registered to vote and ready to go out to the polls in November," added Silva. "The stakes are too high for us to sit on the sidelines; we must own our power and show bigoted politicians that we won't let them hurt our families."

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