Immigrants in the Age of Trump

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CRISPIN R. ARANDA

A YEAR before the 2016 presidential elections–during and immediately after the Republicans chose Donald Trump as the Grand Old Party’s nominee and eventual US President—the United States admitted 1,051,031 immigrants.

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The American Community Survey (ACS) reported that there were approximately 11.6 million Mexican immigrants in the US in 2015.

What percentage of this 27 percent of all US immigrants are “drug addicts, criminal and rapists” as Trump claimed during the campaign, is not clear since the US President has a habit of exaggerating claims without proof: 1) President Barack Obama was not born a US citizen; (2) he had the biggest crowd size of any presidential inauguration; 3) between 3 to 5 million illegals caused him to lose the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.

Sometimes, though, he is telling the truth like a 4th grader, as for instance when he stated before TV cameras the reason why his administration was not able to send help to Puerto Rico: “Puerto Rico is an island, you know, surrounded by water, very, very big body of water…”

Million migrants a year
In the past five years (except in 2013) the US has admitted more than a million legal immigrants: those who were granted immigrant visas at US consular posts abroad as well as immigrants who are already in the US, that is, applicants for adjustment of status.

Colored immigrants from Africa, Asia and North America (Mexico, Central America mostly) are the top three geographical sources of immigrants with Europe at the bottom of the top five.

Where are immigrants in the US?
In 2015, the top five US states by number of immigrants were California (10.7 million), Texas (4.7 million), New York (4.5 million), Florida (4.1 million), and New Jersey (close to 2 million).

When classified by the share of immigrants out of the total state population, the top five states in 2015 were California (27 percent), New York (23 percent), New Jersey (22 percent), Florida (20 percent), and Nevada (19 percent).

Between 1990 and 2000, the five states with the largest absolute growth of the immigrant population were California (2.4 million), Texas (1.4 million), New York (1 million), Florida (1 million), and Illinois (577,000).

During this same period, five states experienced the largest influx of immigrants: North Carolina (274 percent), Georgia (233 percent), Nevada (202 percent), Arkansas (196 percent), and Utah (171 percent)

Between 2000 and 2015, the five states with the largest absolute growth of the immigrant population were California and Texas (1.8 million each), Florida (1.4 million), New York (662,000), and New Jersey (501,000).

It is interesting to note that in the same period, immigrants seem to have shifted preferences on where to settle, increasing their numbers in non-traditional states: Dakota (137 percent), Tennessee (109 percent), South Dakota (106 percent), South Carolina (101 percent), and Wyoming (96 percent).

Pathway to citizenship
Unless a person granted lawful permanent residency remains married to the US citizen spouse who petitioned him or her, green card holders normally have to be in permanent resident status for five years before becoming eligible to apply for naturalization as a US citizen.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services data show that in terms of the source countries of those who naturalized in 2015, 15 percent were born in Mexico (105,958), and India and the Philippines contributed approximately 6 percent each, at 42,213 and 40,815 respectively.

The same USCIS statistics show that immigrants from these three countries as well as those from China (31,241), the Dominican Republic (26,665), Cuba (25,770), Vietnam (21,976), Colombia (17,207), El Salvador (16,930), and Jamaica (16,566), make up the top 10 countries of birth for newly naturalized citizens in 2015, who made up 47 percent of the 730,259 new US citizens that year.

Yet, despite their large numbers, only 5 of 7 states gave Donald Trump the presidency, albeit not by popular vote but through the electoral colleges (EC); Texas and Florida gave Trump 38 and 29 EC votes

Even if the rate in the number of naturalization applications increased from 388,412 (for the period January to March 2015) to 775,781 going into the primary and presidential election of 2016, the numbers may not be sufficient to prevent the reelection of The Apprentice President.

Despite having the lowest approval rating—32 percent—Trump’s Republican base continues to fuel Trump’s re-election campaign filling the Republican nomination committee coffers with at least $100 million from donors who have given $200 or less, according to Federal Election Commission filings.

Unless the immigrants in the Trump strongholds of Texas and Philadelphia join those in North and South Dakotas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Wyoming to become citizens and vote Democratic in the midterm elections and in 2022, the Trump family and organization will continue to treat the White House as their principal business address.

Together these states with the largest increase in immigrant populations, if added to the states that gave electoral votes to Hillary, could give the Democratic candidate for President in 2020 approximately 326 electoral votes, 56 more than the 270 needed to win and surpass the 306 EC votes Trump got in 2016.

Otherwise, get ready for inquisition not inclusion, in the Age of Trump.

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