Immigrants’ Interest in Citizenship Surges


WASHINGTON – Efforts by Congress and local governments to crack down on
illegal immigration — and the protests that followed those efforts —
have produced a surge of interest in learning how to become a U.S.

More of the nation’s 8 million legal immigrants are showing up at
citizenship classes and seminars sponsored by churches and community

“I didn’t think it was important before, but now I think it’s very
important to be a citizen,” Leonida Santana said during a break in a
Saturday morning class discussion about the separation of powers among
Congress, the president and the courts.

Santana, a Dominican Republic native, arrived in the United States
in 1983 and a year later secured a green card, signifying permanent
legal residency. She signed up for the 10 weeks of citizenship
preparation classes after the House last year passed a bill that would
deport illegal immigrants as felons and erect 700 miles of fencing
along the U.S.-Mexico border.

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