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Immigrants applying for citizenship before election

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Many immigrants in Maryland are following the U.S. presidential election just as closely as U.S. citizens. The comments that presidential candidates have made about immigration law may be of particular interest to people with a lot of family members who live in the U.S. illegally or have plans to immigrate to the U.S.

A lot more immigrants may be able to vote in the upcoming election if they apply for U.S. citizenship in time. Citizenship advocacy groups like Citizenship Now! have been holding workshops aimed at encouraging legal immigrants to apply for U.S. citizenship before the November election. So far, advocacy groups have assisted 12,781 people with their citizenship applications, but they hope 1 million people will file for citizenship this fiscal year.

There has been a recent increase in citizenship applications, but researchers do not yet know how much the election has affected the uptick. According to the Pew Research Center, there were 249,609 citizenship applications from October 2015 to the end of January 2016. The figure is a 13 percent increase in citizenship applications from the period of time lasting from October 2014 to the end of January 2015. There are around 8.8 million legal permanent residents in the U.S. who could potentially apply for citizenship.

Legal permanent residents can apply for citizenship after they have lived in the U.S. for at least five years. Those who are married to a U.S. citizen can apply for citizenship after just three years. The citizenship application itself is fairly complex, and many people find that they need legal assistance while filling it out.

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