A new coalition of Latino groups and labor unions aimed at stopping Donald Trump from becoming president will begin holding voter registration drives at high schools in battleground states, it announced on Wednesday.
In a conference call with reporters, members of the newly-formed “Stop the Hate” coalition laid out their plans to help naturalize 1 million legal permanent residents this year.
The campaign will focus on helping green card holders apply for and obtain citizenship but will also reach out to high schoolers, all with the goal of creating a massive wave of anti-Trump voters in November.
The effort is being led by New Partnership for New Americans, which partnered with the Obama White House in 2014 to sign up more green card holders as citizens as part of an Networks for Integrating New Americans initiative. Mi Latino Vota, Latino Victory Fund, iAmerica Action and several labor unions are also part of the anti-Trump “Stop the Hate” partnership.
Rosio Saenz, the president of iAmerica Action and a vice president of the SEIU labor union, told reporters about the plan for high school outreach, which launches on Thursday and will be aimed at students who will be 18 years old by election day on Nov. 8.
“Across many battleground states many national and local groups like Mi Familia Vota and others will launch a national campaign engaging high school students,” she said during the press call.
“We’re going into high schools to register eligible young voters and provide them all the tools necessary so they can vote in November and be active participants in our democracy.”
“Together we will decide what type of nation we want to be,” the community organizer continued. “A nation that is just, fair and accepting, or a nation of Trump hate filled with intolerance for our communities.”
Saenz did not provide details on which high schools will be targeted.
Illinois Rep. [crscore]Luis Gutierrez[/crscore], perhaps the most dogged supporter of immigration reform in Congress, also took part in the call.
“There is something going on here,” he said of the spike in citizenship applications. “The way Donald Trump and other Republicans have been talking about immigrants and refugees…it’s frankly scaring people into coming forward and becoming citizens, going through the process.”
According to statistics from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), citizenship applications increased nearly 15 percent in the final three months of 2015 compared to 2014.
From Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2015, 187,635 legal permanent residents applied for citizenship. For the same period in 2014, 163,928 applied. Statistics for the first quarter of this year will be released in coming weeks and are expected to show a large spike in applications.
As The Daily Caller reported in March, the naturalization drive has been aided by several federally-funded groups and progressive organizations that oppose Trump. (RELATED: Obama Admin Funds Blitz To Naturalize Anti-Trump Voters)
The real estate billionaire, who is likely to face Hillary Clinton in the general election, has angered many immigration activists because of his threats to build a wall on the southern border and deport illegal aliens.
Though Gutierrez portrayed the catalyst for citizenship spike in purely political terms, the Democrat claimed during the press call that citizenship enrollment events are not political in nature.
“Applying for citizenship is absolutely a non-partisan thing. The events that these organizations are holding are legitimately non-partisan events,” he said.
Ben Monterrosa, the executive director of Mi Familia Vota, also touched on the high school enrollment effort and on anti-Trump fervor.
“We’re going to be in all the high schools where we have organizations working in capacity [in order to register young voters],” he said.
“A surge in Latino engagement is coming,” he said, adding that citizenship applicants often tell him, “‘I’m becoming a citizen because I want to vote against Donald Trump’ or ‘I want to vote against the attacks on our community.'”
Joshua Hoyt, the executive director of New Partnership for New Americans, organized the call. He provided a variety of statistics on applicants and also laid out the coalition’s strategy. He said that the group has helped 12,781 people apply for citizenship so far. It has also hosted more than 300 citizenship workshops so far this year, he said.
The group has also met with USCIS, Hoyt said on the call.
“They anticipated the spike,” he said, adding that the agency is shooting for a application processing time of five months.