GOP senators ask DHS about ‘rush’ to process citizens ahead of election
Washington (CNN)Two Republican senators are expressing concern to the head of the Department of Homeland Security over what they said was a “rush” to process new citizens ahead of the presidential election.
In the letter to Jeh Johnson, Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin specifically suggest that new voters could provide Democrats with an advantage. They refer to an internal agency email from US Citizenship and Immigration Services about processing applications “due to the election year.” The memo encourages DHS staff to work overtime to process applications and notes several Saturdays that offices will be open to help process applications.
The senators say a similar effort in 1996 to increase citizenship applications “endangered national security and public safety” because not all the cases were processed following the correct protocol, such as fingerprint checks.
The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately comment.
The prospect of more immigrants becoming citizens likely stands to benefit Democrats.
The implications are controversial because Democrats have made a push to get new immigrants to register to vote, aiming to build up an anti-Trump demographic particularly among Latinos.
US Citizenship and Immigration Services show a 14.5% jump in naturalization applications in June-December of 2015 compared with the same six months in the previous year. Federal data does not break down those applications by race, but grass-roots organizations, like the Florida Immigrant Coalition, say their naturalization drives across their swing state are filled primarily by Latinos, who overwhelmingly vote Democrat.
Democrats have been accused by Republicans during the 2016 season of trying to increase turnout by adding voters. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump last month slammed an effort by Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe to restore voting rights to some convicted felons who have completed their sentences.
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September 23, 2016 at 11:12AM