By NAN Staffers
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. July 13, 2018: Could the Caribbean immigrant voting bloc in the U.S. have grown by over 100,000 in just the past 15 months alone?
It may very well have if every one of the 100,000 plus Caribbean nationals who became new naturalized U.S. citizens registered to vote.
According to the latest available data from the Department of Homeland Security, (DHS), tabulated by News Americas for the last five quarters, between Fiscal Year 2017 and the first Quarter of Fiscal Year 2018, 113,340 Caribbean nationals became U.S. citizens.
For Fiscal Year 2017 alone, the total was a whopping 95,819. The Dominican Republic accounted for almost 30,000 while over 25,000 were Cubans. Jamaicans again rounded out the top three with 14,889.
So far for 2018, at least for the first quarter, over 17,000 Caribbean immigrants qualified to take the oath of allegiance and become U.S. citizens.
The exact total was 17,521, a slight increase from the same period last year when the total was 17,122 according to NAN’s formulation.
The majority of new citizens for the first quarter of the fiscal year of 2018 are from Cuba, with a whopping 6,804, up dramatically from 4,191 for the same period in the last fiscal year.
Nationals from the Dominican Republic accounted for the second highest number of newly minted U.S. citizens from the Caribbean with 4,804, down from 5,282 last year, while Jamaicans came in at third for the wider Caribbean and first for the English-speaking Caribbean with 3,572 naturalized in the first quarter of 2018 alone. Last year, at the same time, only 2,636 Jamaicans had been naturalized.
Haitians who became naturalized so far this fiscal year totaled 2,947 in the first quarter, up slightly from 2,387 for the same period last year; while there were 840 Trinidad & Tobagonians, down from 841 last year.
Seven hundred and thirty-five, (735), Guyanese also took the oath of US citizenship so far this year, down from 894 last year, while 182 raising their hand to pledge allegiance to the US were from Belize, a slight increase from the 149 last year.
Meanwhile,116 from the Bahamas also took the oath in the first quarter of this year as well as 112 each from Barbados and St. Lucia, respectively.
The Commonwealth of Dominica accounted for 96 while 69 were from Antigua and Barbuda. The data showed there were 66 from Grenada; 62 Saint Vincent & The Grenadines and 39 from St. Kitts & Nevis who all became U.S. citizens in the first quarter of 2018.
Suriname rounded out the Caribbean listing with the lowest number of naturalized Caribbean immigrants so far this year, at 28.
With the November mid-term elections looming large and as Democrats fight to take back the U.S. House and the Senate from Republicans who have mostly become Donald Trump’s lynch pins, the quest is on to tap into the growing immigrant voting pool. As the Caribbean naturalization roll grows, the bloc may become a swing vote yet, despite being largely taken for granted by Democrats while being lumped in as African-Americans and ignored by Republicans.