Published: April 28, 2016 Updated: April 30, 2016 6:37 a.m.
Anti-immigrant rhetoric from the campaign trail is encouraging Latino immigrants to become U.S. citizens with one goal in mind: to vote against GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump.
That energy is seen in citizenship workshops across Southern California.
Community organizers in the Inland area began holding naturalization drives during the workweek in order to assist hundreds with their citizenship applications. In Orange County, crowds have stood in line to receive citizenship assistance.
Federal numbers show an increase in naturalization applications in June 2015 when Trump announced his candidacy and advocated for tighter border security, saying some Mexican immigrants were “rapists and others came to the U.S. “bringing drugs.”
He also said he will build a wall along the Mexican border, vowing to make Mexico pay for it.
On Thursday, April 28, Latino protesters showed up in droves to protest Trump’s appearance in Costa Mesa. They waved Mexican flags and held signs that read, “Drump Trump” and “California Latinos are Majority ... Mr. Trump you’re fired!!!”
Trump didn’t back down.
Within minutes of taking the stage, Trump had the crowd on its feet chanting, “Build that wall.”
That’s the kind of rhetoric that some new citizens said inspired them to become eligible to vote.
In California, more than 850,000 people registered to vote between January 1 and March 31. That’s twice as much when compared to the same period in 2012, another presidential election year, according to Political Data, a company that provides political data to campaigns.
This growth is largely Latino and Democrat, according to the company.
Jack Pitney, professor of politics at Claremont McKenna College, said if Republicans nominate Trump, the California party could face continued difficulty wooing Latino voters.
“This year, the most important decision for sustaining the party’s growth is in the hands of its voters,” said Pitney, former research director for the Republican National Committee. “If they want the party to get stronger, the worst thing they could do is vote for Trump. He would lose California massively in the fall, and drive record numbers of Hispanics to register and vote as Democrats.”
Jose Tovar and his daughter, Ana, of Perris, passed their citizenship interview Wednesday, April 27, and said they’re excited about voting.
“Now, if we don’t agree with the system of government we can make a point,” said Jose Tovar, 55, in Spanish.
“I won’t tell you who I’m voting for, but I will say who I’m voting against: Donald Trump,” added Tovar, who has been living in the U.S. for more than 25 years.
The same goes for his 23-year-old daughter.
Ana Tovar has been living in the U.S. since she was 18. She knew there would be some level of anti-immigrant discrimination, but not to the extent she’s encountered, for example, when speaking Spanish in public, or with Trump’s rhetoric.
Among California voters, only 11 percent of Latinos have a favorable view of Trump, while 83 percent have an unfavorable perspective of him, according to a Field Poll released in April. The Field Poll is a nonpartisan California public opinion firm.
Tim Clark, Trump’s California campaign manager, could not be reached for comment.
But at a Pennsylvania rally April 21, Trump said he will win the Hispanic vote because Latinos helped him win the Nevada caucuses.
The Tovars, from the Mexican state of Jalisco, served as proof that obtaining U.S. citizenship is not an impossible process – as some Latino immigrants envision it to be.
“Be prepared. Look confident,” Jose Tovar told a group of immigrants preparing for the citizenship process at TODEC Legal Center in Perris on Wednesday. TODEC is a pro-immigrant group serving Inland migrant communities.
The Tovars, who received assistance from TODEC, stopped by the center Wednesday to let people know they had just passed their naturalization interview. There was a sense of solidarity inside the tightly packed meeting room where staff and volunteers that day helped more than 100 immigrants fill out their citizenship applications.
“Se puede? Si se puede!” they cheered. (“Can we? Yes we can!”)
“It’s history repeating itself,” said Luz Gallegos, community programs director at TODEC Legal Center, remembering the influx of citizenship interest when Republican Pete Wilson was governor.
Prop. 187, a 1994 law championed by Wilson would have barred immigrants who came here illegally from services, including public education and non-emergency health care. Although it was never enacted, Latinos were energized by the battle against it.
“I'm afraid Republicans seem to have forgotten about the Pete Wilson effect – that is, what happens when someone scapegoats and alienates large portions of the population by proposing extreme positions on immigration that divide families and hurt our economy,” said Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-Los Angeles, during a Democratic Party conference call Wednesday, April 27.
Still, there are many Latino immigrants in the U.S. who are eligible for citizenship, but haven’t applied.
In fiscal 2015, 730,296 people became citizens nationally, an increase of 11 percent over the previous year.
About 8.8 million immigrants are eligible for citizenship, and some 2.7 million are Mexican. A 2013 Pew Research Center report found the naturalization rate of eligible Mexicans was only 36 percent, while the rate for all other legal immigrants was 68 percent.
It could be different this year.
Research shows that at least for Latinos, those who become citizens during a politically charged environment on immigrant issues, vote at rates substantially higher than native-born or longer term naturalized Latino citizens, according to the University of Southern California’s Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration.
The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, a nonprofit advocating for Latino participation in U.S. politics, estimates that 13 million Latinos will cast ballots nationwide in 2016, compared to 11.2 million in 2012 and 9.8 million in 2008.
Saul Muro, 62, of Temecula, is one of them.
Muro has been living in the U.S. for decades and recently decided to become a citizen. He wants to vote in this presidential election. He tried to become a citizen before, but didn’t pass the interview. He hopes taking the TODEC workshop will help him pass this year.
He joked that his wife tells him he has Trump to thank for his decision of becoming a citizen this year. But, he gets teary-eyed when he talks about the real reason he’s applying for citizenship: his family.
“My children congratulate me. They say, ‘How long have we been telling you (to become a citizen),” Muro said in Spanish.
Although Muro has been a permanent resident for years, through former President Ronald Reagan’s amnesty program, he said he still fears being deported, especially if Trump becomes elected.
Being a citizen will allow him to, “Feel more free ... in this country that I love so much,” Muro said.
Italia Garcia, a regional coordinator with Mi Familia Vota, which seeks to register Inland Latino voters, said Latino immigrants are now recognizing they have political power.
“Not only are we becoming the majority in numbers ... Over the past years we’ve been able to elect officials that represent our community values and are willing to put our community first,” she said.
Staff writer Jeff Horseman contributed to this report.
BURLINGAME (CBS SF) – The California Republican Party convention kicked off in Burlingame Friday, as a large group of protesters gathered outside ahead of a planned lunch banquet with presidential frontrunner Donald Trump.
Trump arrived at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport at 1333 Old Bayshore Highway in Burlingame shortly after noon. CHP officers pulled off the side of Highway 101. The candidate hopped a fence and entered through the back of the hotel.
RAW VIDEO: Trump Arrives At HotelTrump made reference to his arrival when he spo to party members.
“That was not the easiest entrance I’ve ever made,” the frontrunner said. “It felt like I was crossing the border actually. I was crossing the border, but I got here.”
RAW VIDEO: Trump Says Arrival Like ‘Crossing The Border’The move was prompted after protesters attempted to storm the front of the hotel, shortly before noon.
Protesters attempt to storm the front of the Hyatt Regency in Burlingame ahead of a speech by Donald Trump on April 29, 2016. (CBS)
All three remaining Republican presidential candidates will speak this weekend as the convention continues with a dinner banquet this evening featuring Ohio Gov. John Kasich and a lunch banquet on Saturday with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz.
Former Hewelett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, recently announced as Cruz’s running mate, will host a dinner banquet on Saturday night.
Burlingame police said in a statement on Thursday night that they are preparing for the expected protests against Trump by drawing officers from law enforcement agencies throughout San Mateo County for assistance.
The janitors, whose contract expires Saturday, began their rally at Grand Park at noon. Janitors say they could strike as early as next week against what they say are unfair labor practices by major janitorial companies.
On Saturday, supporters of Democratic presidential candidateBernie Sanders are expected to converge on downtown L.A. for a march and rally tied to International Workers’ Day, or May Day, on Sunday.
But the largest crowds are expected to gather downtown Sunday to demand equality for immigrants and protest Trump's controversial statements about people from Mexico and Muslims.
“We have a very active three days with the Janitors for Justice today at midday, Bernie Sanders on Saturday and May Day march Sunday," said LAPD Assistant Chief Michel Moore. "We’ll be using the play book that we have successfully used for a number of years.”
The janitors' march is unpermitted and may disrupt the city's downtown core, but police will accommodate the protest, Moore said.
Demonstrations in Costa Mesa on Thursday resulted in 17 arrests and damage to several police cars as large crowds of Latino protesters vented outrage at Trump's claim that Mexico was sending rapists over the border.
On Friday, Moore said he believed the Los Angeles demonstrations would be far more calm, but noted that the images from Costa Mesa were alarming.
“It is disturbing to law enforcement as much as all Americans … it's almost the '60s again,” he said.
To prepare for the May Day rally, Moore said, police have been meeting with organizers for several months to ensure a smooth march.
"We expect May Day to be peaceful," Moore said. "We are always prepared for any eventuality were anything to happen. But we have nothing to suggest that will be the case.”
Typically, he said, problems come from outside agitators and not the organized marchers.
As for Saturday's Sanders event, Moore said the candidate won’t be present.
During the janitors' rally Friday, participants held signs reading "Justice for Janitors" and chanted, "Si se puede." An estimated 3,500 people swarmed Grand Avenue demanding justice and fair contracts and called for an end to racism and anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Humberto Lara, 62, of South Los Angeles said he has been working as a janitor for Wells Fargo Bank in downtown L.A. for five years, but under the current contract he doesn't make enough to support his family.
"We want more benefits," he said. "The amount we have are not enough and the pay is not enough."
The Sanders march will begin at 3 p.m. on Main Street between Olympic Boulevard and 11th Street, then head north and arrive in front of City Hall at 4. A rally will begin at 6 p.m. and last til about 7:30.
Sunday's May Day event will start at 1 p.m. at 11th and Figueroa streets. From there, participants are expected to march through downtown L.A. and arrive at La Placita on Olvera Street at 3.
COSTA MESA, Calif. — Raucous crowds of protesters took to the streets late Thursday in California as Donald Trumpbrought his Republican presidential campaign to conservative Orange County after sweeping the Northeast GOP primaries.
Dozens of protesters were mostly peaceful as Trump gave his speech inside the Pacific Amphitheatre. After the event, however, the demonstration grew rowdy and spilled into the streets.
At least four people were arrested and one Trump supporter had his face bloodied in a scuffle as he tried to drive out of the arena. One man jumped on a police car, leaving its front and rear windows smashed and the top dented in, and other protesters sprayed graffiti on a police car and the venue’s marquee.
Dozens of cars — including those of Trump supporters trying to leave — were stuck in the street as several hundred demonstrators blocked the road, waved Mexican flags and posed for selfies.
Police in riot gear and on horseback pushed the crowd back and away from the venue. There were no major injuries and police did not use any force. The crowd began dispersing about three hours after the speech ended.
Earlier in the evening, a half-dozen anti-Trump protesters taunted those waiting to get into the venue. Trump supporters surrounded one man who waved a Mexican flag and shouted “Build that wall! Build that wall!” — a reference to Trump’s call to create a barrier between the United States and Mexico to stop illegal border crossings.
At one point, seven women wearing no shirts and Bernie Sanders stickers over their breasts entered the square outside the amphitheater. They said they were protesting Trump’s lack of engagement on issues of gender equality and women’s rights.
“I feel like he wants to make America great again, but certainly not for women, for the LBGTQ community or for the lower class,” said one of the women, Tiernan Hebron. “He has, like, done nothing to help with gender equality or women’s rights or reproductive rights or anything.”
Trump has drawn large crowds across the country as he has campaigned for the White House and some of his events have been marred by incidents both inside and outside these venues.
Earlier this week, a Trump rally in nearby Anaheim, California, turned contentious when his supporters and counter-protesters clashed, leaving several people struck by pepper spray. Trump was not present.
Trump has drawn large crowds to most of his campaign events, and Thursday was no exception. The Pacific Amphitheatre was filled to its capacity of about 18,000 and many hundreds more were turned away.
Ly Kou, 47, of Ontario, said she likes Trump because he has vowed to put the country first.
“It’s obvious that America loves Trump,” said Kou, who is from Laos, as she pointed at the waiting throng. “This thing about him being racist? Look around the crowd.”
Trump was traveling from the rally site to the state’s Republican convention in Burlington in the San Francisco Bay Area.