The Republican Party has launched a program to train immigrants on the U.S. citizenship and naturalization exam, according to the Republican National Committee (RNC).
The Republican Civics Initiative will prepare “future voters” who are green card holders hoping to become citizens through basic U.S. civics and history topics included on the naturalization exam.
RNC staff are being trained by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) certified RNC Strategic Initiatives, according to the RNC.
The first training course was held on Thursday, July 14, in Doral, Florida at the RNC Hispanic community center.
For the 2022 cycle, the Republican National Committee has made a multimillion-dollar commitment to continue organizing efforts in minority communities in key states across the country.
Staff will be given training materials adapted from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Civics curriculum and will be trained by the RNC Strategic Initiatives staff who are certified USCIS instructors.
More than 9.2 million Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR), legal citizens of the United States who are unable to vote in federal elections or hold federal government, are eligible to naturalize as of January 2021.
The course for those hoping to become naturalized citizens is approximately 10 hours long and spread across four sessions with a celebration at the completion of the course. LPRs will learn basic U.S. Civics and history based on questions that could appear on the civics portion of the naturalization test such as “When was the Declaration of Independence signed?” and “How many branches of government are there?”
The RNC said that many LPRs currently reside in states where they have staff and community centers nearby to help LPRs become naturalized. The RNC says they’re opening these centers earlier than ever to ensure Republicans continue to make inroads with minority voters.
A participant at Thursday’s event named Marco said, “This is something that’s open to the community, not only Nicaraguans but also Cubans, Venezuelans, and all walks of life.”
“I appreciate all the information, it’s really helpful because there’s a lot you need to learn for this test and the instructor was very specific. I was a bit nervous for the test before this but not so much anymore,” said Gabriella who participated on Thursday. “I love this country. I come from Bolivia where people are killed for having different opinions and so I know the dangers of communism. The U.S. is a moral example for the rest of the world.”
More than 30 minority community centers, including the 12 Hispanic centers, in addition to Black, Asian Pacific American, Jewish, and Native American community centers across the country by the RNC.
There will be more centers opened throughout the summer and the rest of the cycle, according to the RNC.
“The RNC is growing our Party through purposeful education and engagement. Our commitment to provide opportunities for all to live out the American dream is broadening our base because our ideas transcend all backgrounds. Unlike Democrats, Republicans do not take minority communities for granted and we will continue to work to earn each vote ahead of November,” said RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel.
The RNC has been appealing to Hispanic voters ahead of the midterm elections in November. Hispanic voters are leaning increasingly toward the Republican Party, according to recent polling.
Victor Jimenez became a Republican last December, and told the DCNF that his family immigrated from the Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico in 2008 and shortly after he moved to Alaska alone despite speaking little English at the time.
“There’s a trend that … all Latinos when they come here, they need to be Democrats in that … everybody’s so racist and all that,” Jimenez told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “But, I can tell you that I’ve never experienced anything that I would consider racist in my years in this country like ever.”
Jimenez worked as a lead public affairs officer for Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser before switching parties.
“I know Mayor Bowser – I think she has good intentions. I just … I just don’t agree with a lot of the things they do,” he said, “meaning, … their policy on … sanctuary cities, for example, that’s one thing that I do not agree on … and that for me was kind of like the point where I said, ‘okay, I … I don’t agree with this. I think if somebody commits a crime, they should be detained and they should be deported.’”
“There’s this notion that Hispanics agree with open borders and that Hispanics agree with illegal immigration, and that couldn’t be farther from the truth,” he said.
Jimenez said he did not have to worry about how his family, who he described as conservative “for the most part,” would react. However, he said some of his liberal D.C. friends turned their backs on him after switching parties.
“The Democratic Party … prides itself to be so accepting and open, and blah, blah, blah, blah, until you are … you are a conservative,” Jimenez said. “If you come out as conservative, then that’s the problem. They can’t even hear your argument because you’re immediately labeled as stupid. You’re not open. You are a racist.”
“Like, a racist? Like, are you kidding me? No, that’s not it. I just don’t agree with these values,” he said.
The election of President Donald Trump in 2016 along with Republican gains in the 2020 presidential election revealed a rightward shift among Hispanic and Latino voters, historically a demographic that has strongly supported the Democratic Party.
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