Jude Joffe-Block is the Las Vegas senior field correspondent for the Fronteras Changing America Desk, a public media collaboration among seven public radio stations in the Southwest. She covers immigration, changing demographics as well as other news from southern Nevada. Before joining the Fronteras Desk, Joffe-Block contributed stories on immigration and criminal justice to KALW in San Francisco, and created multimedia content in both Spanish and English as an intern with the Associated Press in Mexico. She’s a graduate of Yale University and the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Imigrant voters gave President Barack Obama a boost in the last race. So while they’re still a small share of the electorate, which way these voters go this year could matter, particularly in swing states like Nevada.
This year naturalization applications are up 15 percent from last year. Yet that spike is tiny compared to 2007, when applications almost doubled. Back then, it took U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services about a year to process applications, so that influx resulted in a record of more than one million naturalizations in 2008. In comparison, the volume of applications in advance of this year’s presidential election is 40 percent lower than the lead up to the 2008 race.
Yet there are more than eight million legal permanent residents in the country who are eligible to apply for citizenship. A large share of them live in the Southwest.