Trump Candidacy Leads Growing Number of Danbury Latinos To Become Citizens So They Can Vote

Photo credit: Whitney Curtis/USA
Photo credit: Whitney Curtis/USA

They’ve been arriving since January in numbers that have exhausted staff at the Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury.
Ecuadorians, Dominicans, Mexicans, Guatemalans and Colombians previously content with permanent legal status suddenly want to become citizens and claim their right to vote.

The local surge in interest in citizenship apparently is part of a larger national trend of Latinos registering to voice their objection – one vote at a time – to inflammatory comments about immigrants by GOP front-runner Donald Trump.

A record 27 million Hispanics are expected to be eligible to vote this year, in part because of immigrants going through the naturalization process as they are in Danbury. The other major trend driver is Latino millennials such as Stephani Figueroa, who is old enough to vote this year in her first presidential election.
“I heard about some of the things that Trump said and I definitely don’t like it because we are all working here and we are all part of the community,” said Figueroa, 20, the Danbury-born daughter of a Guatemalan immigrant. “What he said about immigrants and other nationalities has made him one of the top candidates, just because he is being a racist.”
Trump’s spokeswoman did not respond to a request on Friday to share his strategy to win the state’s 280,000 Latino voters in the April 26 Connecticut primary.
Trump has suggested there is no issue after angering Latinos by calling Mexicans criminals and promising to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. At a Feb. 26 debate, Trump noted he won the Nevada primary with Hispanic backing, saying “I’m doing very well with Hispanics.”
Two Latina candidates who are courting support for state office – Newtown Democrat Eva Bermudez Zimmerman and Danbury Republican Emanuela Palmares – are not so sure.
“For every vote he might gain with that negative campaigning, he is going to lose a vote from someone who knows a family who needs immigration reform,” said Zimmerman, who is running against the GOP’s Rep. Mitch Bolinsky to represent the 106th District.
Palmares, the first Brazilian to run for state office, said Trump’s statements clash with the principles of social justice she believes in. Palmares is running to represent the 110th District held by Democrat Bob Godfrey.
“I think that whenever you see two extremes being so loud and pulling people apart, it is really the birth of a very diverse middle ground,” said Palmares. “It’s my hope that from this whole national conversation we are having that a lot of new leaders are going to be born that are going to strive to……..”
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3 thoughts on “Trump Candidacy Leads Growing Number of Danbury Latinos To Become Citizens So They Can Vote

  1. I am not sure how much of this is correct. First of all it is costly to file papers to become a citizen and it takes time to get processed Maybe an immigration lawyer reading this could clarify

  2. Hello Ms. Bessy Reyna,
    Your question is a valid one and I’m glad you asked it. Hispanic Federation is extremely excited about the depth and the outcomes it’s Immigrant Integration Projects are achieving across our communities. In 2013, with the support of the Walmart Foundation, Hispanic Federation and LULAC launched the Hispanic Immigrant Integration Project (HIIP) in eight states across the nation. I am extremely proud to say Connecticut is one of those states and specifically in Danbury, the Hispanic Center is a recipient of one of these Immigrant Integration Grants.
    Presently in Connecticut we count of two Bureau of Immigration Appeals (BIA) Recognized and Accredited member organizations. They are the Center for Latino Progress in Hartford and the Hispanic Center of Greater Danbury. This BIA Recognition and Accreditation affords our community agencies to provide important services (i.e. ESL and civics classes, citizenship assistance, immigrant legal support) to help them more fully integrate and remove financial and legal barriers to Legal Permanent Residents to obtain citizenship.
    The Hispanic Immigrant Integration Grants provide community residents with financial assistance for the costs of citizenship, family petitions and renewal of DACA and Green Cards. The Accredited Centers also count on immigration attorneys on their teams.
    The work is also coupled with our Movimiento Hispano-A Latinos for Democracy Project ( and the Federation’s Get Out The Vote, civic engagement and community education campaigns.
    All in all, a super exciting time in our communities and for our Latino nonprofit agencies facilitating and achieving integration.
    Much Success,
    Ingrid Alvarez
    Connecticut State Director
    Hispanic Federation

  3. Hispanic Center of Danbury (2016) and the Center for Latino Progress (2011) are agencies recognized by the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) to provide legal immigration services. See This is a lengthy process for the agency as well as the staff to obtain the recognition and accreditation. This designation help, those seeking legal immigration services find assistance with bona fide representatives as opposed to “notaries” or unscrupulous lawyers.
    The USCIS fees for citizenship per person is $680.00. The nonprofit agency costs are usually less than a law firm.

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