The Race To Naturalize 8 Million Immigrants, To Prevent A Trump Presidency

Could a bloc of new voters keep Trump out of the White House?

Maria Antonio protests in East Los Angeles (Getty Images)

The 2016 presidential primary season has been a strange and scary one, with perhaps one persistent truth: Most Latinos really hate Donald Trump (though there are at least 18,902 who don’t, and they have their reasons). Such hate isn't a reaction to his bad hair or tiny hands, but a concerted effort that he’s made on the campaign trail to rally together Republicans using xenophobic rhetoric. Spirits company Ilegal Mezcal condensed this hate into a tidy slogan, with posters and graffiti in major cities that read, "Donald, Eres un Pendejo” (loosely, Donald you’re a jackass). They even recently organized a global take-a-shot-of-mezcal-against-Trump moment to raise money for Niños de Guatemala.

Now, in addition to the synchronized shots, there’s a movement under way—ahead of November’s election—to naturalize the more than 8 million legal permanent residents currently living in the U.S.

Easier said than done, of course, or the fight for immigration reform wouldn’t be so long and protracted. In 2014, President Obama put forth an executive action that would save the parents of U.S. citizens from deportation; Republican states blocked it. What we’re seeing now is the concerted effort of immigrant rights groups using funds raised to help these legal residents gain citizenship. The L.A. Times reports more than 3,000 people recently received free help filling out citizenship applications in Long Beach, California. In New York City, the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs has launched a major initiative called NYCitizenship to provide legal counsel and more for free in public libraries. Cool, right?

The question remains—can this save us from President Trump? David Mullins, who handles citizenship applications at the New York Legal Assistance Group, gave us a primer on the naturalization process to help figure it out.

First things first, to become a naturalized citizen of the U.S., you need to have had a green card for five years and lived here during that time (or three years if you’re married to a U.S. citizen), speak English, be person of "good moral character" (“a.k.a. not have certain arrests or convictions,” says Mullins) and pass a history/civics exam. The English requirement is waived if you're over a certain age and have had a green card for at least 15 or 20 years.

The application itself encompasses about 20 pages of biographical info, like address, work history, and every organization you’re a member of. There are also “a million yes and no questions, ranging from whether or not you’re a terrorist to do you support the Constitution,” says Mullins. How quickly an application is processed varies widely from place to place—the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services says that in New York City, for example, people who filed in August 2015 are being interviewed now.

Will these filings have an impact come November? To determine that, Mullins looked at cities in the super-contested swing states of Ohio and Florida: In the former, waits are between five and ten months; the latter, seven to nine.

This timeline gives California-based attorney Robert Perkins—who goes by the title The Immigration Professor—cautious optimism about the potential for this movement to have a real impact. He’s been in the business for 27 years and is seeing clients of all nationalities now concerned that the U.S. could elect a xenophobic president. “This comes from not only Latinos but people from China, people from Malaysia, people from France—people from all stripes and all socioeconomic backgrounds,” says Perkins. “I have a friend from China who's been here 20 years; it’s only now that she's bothering me to get her naturalized.”

According to him, the process takes an average of five months. “It's going to be tough to get that done unless the Obama administration were to speed up the process,” he says. There are times when it takes only three months, though, so if there’s a concerted effort on behalf of those fielding applications, it’s possible that a whole new wave of Americans could swing the election. Over the last four years alone, 1.2 million Latinos have become naturalized citizens—many in the all-important state of Florida—and any boost to that number would likely be a boon to the GOP’s opposition come November.

All that said, the answer we’re left with to the question of whether we can naturalize our way to a Trump-free White House is maybe. It can’t hurt to go back to where we started: Doing shots and hoping for the best.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

On April 20, 1889 at the Braunau am Inn, in Upper Austria Salzburger located at Vorstadt 15, Alois and Klara Hitler brought a son into the world. They named him Adolph.

Little did they know he would grow up to be one of the greatest forces of evil the world has ever known.

The Hitlers moved out of the Braunau am Inn when Adolph was three, but the three-story butter-colored building still stands. It has been the subject of controversy for seven decades.

via Thomas Ledia / Wikimedia Commons

The building was a meeting place for Nazi loyalists in the 1930s and '40s. After World War II, the building has become an informal pilgrimage site for neo-Nazis and veterans to glorify the murderous dictator.

The building was a thorn in the side to local government and residents to say the least.

RELATED: He photographed Nazi atrocities and buried the negatives. The unearthed images are unforgettable.

For years it was owned by Gerlinde Pommer, a descendant of the original owners. The Austrian government made numerous attempts to purchase it from her, but to no avail. The building has served many purposes, a school, a library, and a makeshift museum.

In 1989, a stone from the building was inscribed with:

"For Peace, Freedom

and Democracy.

Never Again Fascism.

Millions of Dead Remind [us]."

via Jo Oh / Wikimedia Commons

For three decades it was home to an organization that offered support and integration assistance for disabled people. But in 2011, the organization vacated the property because Pommer refused to bring it up to code.

RELATED: 'High Castle' producers destroyed every swastika used on the show and the video is oh-so satisfying

In 2017, the fight between the government and Pommer ended with it seizing the property. Authorities said it would get a "thorough architectural remodeling is necessary to permanently prevent the recognition and the symbolism of the building."

Now, the government intends to turn it into a police station which will surely deter any neo-Nazis from hanging around the building.

Austria has strict anti-Nazi laws that aim to prohibit any potential Nazi revival. The laws state that anyone who denies, belittles, condones or tries to justify the Nazi genocide or other Nazi crimes against humanity shall be punished with imprisonment for one year up to ten years.

In Austria the anti-Nazi laws are so strict one can go to prison for making the Nazi hand salute or saying "Heil Hitler."

"The future use of the house by the police should send an unmistakable signal that the role of this building as a memorial to the Nazis has been permanently revoked," Austria's IInterior Minister, Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.

The house is set to be redesigned following an international architectural competition.

Center for American Progress Action Fund

Tonight's Democratic debate is a must-watch for followers of the 2020 election. And it's a nice distraction from the impeachment inquiry currently enveloping all of the political oxygen in America right now.

For most people, the main draw will be newly anointed frontrunner Pete Buttigieg, who has surprisingly surged to first place in Iowa and suddenly competing in New Hampshire. Will the other Democrats attack him? How will Elizabeth Warren react now that she's no longer sitting alone atop the primary field? After all, part of Buttigieg's rise has been his criticisms of Warren and her refusal to get into budgetary specifics over how she'd pay for her healthcare plan.

The good news is that Joe Biden apparently counts time travel amongst his other resume-building experience.

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via Mike Mozart / Flickr

Chick-fil-A is the third-largest fast food chain in America, behind McDonald's and Starbucks, raking in over $10 billion a year.

But for years, the company has faced boycotts for supporting anti-LGBT charities, including the Salvation Army, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the Paul Anderson Youth Home.

The Salvation Army faced criticism after a leader in the organization implied that gay people "deserve to die" and the company also came under fire after refusing to offer same-sex couples health insurance. But the organization swears it's evolving on such issues.

via Thomas Hawk / Flickr

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes explicitly announced it was anti gay marriage in a recent "Statement of Faith."

God instituted marriage between one man and one woman as the foundation of the family and the basic structure of human society. For this reason, we believe that marriage is exclusively the union of one man and one woman.

The Paul Anderson Youth Home teaches boys that homosexuality is wrong and that same-sex marriage is "rage against Jesus Christ and His values."

RELATED: The 1975's singer bravely kissed a man at a Dubai concert to protest anti-LGBT oppression

In 2012, Chick-fil-A's CEO, Dan Cathy, made anti same-sex marriage comments on a radio broadcast:

I think we are inviting God's judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say, "We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage". I pray God's mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.

But the chicken giant has now decided to change it's says its charitable donation strategy because it's bad for business...Not because being homophobic is wrong.

The company recently lost several bids to provide concessions in U.S. airports. A pop-up shop in England was told it would not be renewed after eight days following LGBTQ protests.

Chick-fil-A also has plans to expand to Boston, Massachusetts where its mayor, Thomas Menino, pledged to ban the restaurant from the city.

via Wikimedia Commons

"There's no question we know that, as we go into new markets, we need to be clear about who we are," Chick-fil-A President and Chief Operating Officer Tim Tassopoulos told Bisnow. "There are lots of articles and newscasts about Chick-fil-A, and we thought we needed to be clear about our message."

RELATED: Alan Turing will appear on the 50-pound note nearly 70 years after being persecuted for his sexuality

Instead, the Chick-fil-A Foundation plans to give $9 million to organizations that support education and fight homelessness. Which is commendable regardless of the company's troubled past.

"If Chick-Fil-A is serious about their pledge to stop holding hands with divisive anti-LGBTQ activists, then further transparency is needed regarding their deep ties to organizations like Focus on the Family, which exist purely to harm LGBTQ people and families," Drew Anderson, GLAAD's director of campaigns and rapid response, said in a statement.

Chick-fil-A's decision to back down from contributing to anti-LGBT charities shows the power that people have to fight back against companies by hitting them where it really hurts — the pocket book.

The question remains: If you previously avoided Chick-fil-A because it supported anti-LGBT organizations, is it now OK to eat there? Especially when Popeye's chicken sandwich is so good people will kill for it?

via Gage Skidmore / Flickr and nrkbeta / flickr

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) dropped a bombshell on Tuesday, announcing it had over 900 emails that White House aide Stephen Miller sent to former Breitbart writer and editor Katie McHugh.

According to the SPLC, in the emails, Miller aggressively "promoted white nationalist literature, pushed racist immigration stories and obsessed over the loss of Confederate symbols after Dylann Roof's murderous rampage."

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