Due to a turbulent political climate and an increasing number of application services, Massachusetts has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people applying to become U.S. citizens in the state.
Nearly 8,000 people applied to become U.S. citizens in Massachusetts during the first three months of 2016, a 30 percent increase compared to the previous quarter and nearly 37 percent higher than the same quarter in 2015, the Boston Globe reported.
“It’s been an overwhelming surge,” Veronica Serrato, executive director of the nonprofit Project Citizenship in Boston, told the Globe. “I assumed that it was the aftermath of our publicity. But at some point, it was something else.”
An increase of 34 percent in citizenship applications has been seen nationwide in recent months, MassLive reported, adding that Donald Trump’s presidential bid, which has taken positions that seem dismissive of foreigners, may possibly be a factor to people considering whether or not to apply.
“We hear the voices on the ground,” Eva Millona, executive director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, said to the Globe. “People are terrified.”
Immigration advocates claimed that they hope the increase will add nearly 1 million new voters in this year’s election, the Globe added. To vote for president, Massachusetts residents must register by Oct. 19.
Roughly two-thirds of those who have applied for citizenship this quarter have been approved, The Associated Press reported.