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Naturalization Major Driver In Surge Of Hispanic Voters

Decisions by hundreds of thousands of Hispanic immigrants to apply for U.S. citizenship are driving the number of eligible Hispanic voters to record heights, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis.

The Hispanic electorate is expected to grow to a record 27.3 million voters in 2016, primarily because millions of U.S.-born Hispanics are coming of voting age, Pew found. But the second largest driver of growth is naturalization. (RELATED: White House Launches Campaign To Get Immigrants To Sign Up For Citizenship)

More than a million Hispanic immigrants living legally in the U.S. will have become naturalized citizens between 2012 and 2016, according to Pew projections. That’s more than a third of the 3.2 million Hispanic citizens who will turn 18 in that same time period.

The Obama administration is in the midst of a massive push to market citizenship to immigrants and refugees ahead of the 2016 election. The White House Task Force on New Americans, created by executive order in 2014, is behind a series of new initiatives aimed at ensuring they have the tools, support and encouragement they need to apply for citizenship. (RELATED: At Least 15 US ‘Citizen Terrorists’ Are Also Legal Immigrants)

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently partnered with a number of major cities including New York and Boston to promote citizenship by training librarians and city officials to help interested immigrants apply. Boston Public Library branches established “Citizenship Corners” to ensure easy access to preparation materials.

In September, the White House launched a multilingual public awareness campaign to encourage immigrants and refugees to sign up for citizenship and to build a volunteer support team by partnering with local communities.

“If you’re eligible, commit to becoming a citizen today,” President Barack Obama said in a video kicking off the campaign.

USCIS launched a Spanish Facebook page and a stand-alone Spanish blog in July in an effort to strengthen “its commitment to the Spanish-speaking community.” Aspiring citizens can find study sheets, flash cards and audio tools in Spanish at USCIS.gov to help them prepare for the 100-question civics test, which must be taken in English. 

The agency told a Senate subcommittee in August its efforts to market citizenship to immigrants are part of the ongoing fight against homegrown terror. “In furtherance of DHS’s mission to safeguard the homeland, USCIS is committed to fostering integration and community cohesion,” the agency recently told the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest in records obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

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