In 2007, while the US hotly debated immigration reform, the number of Mexican-born immigrants who became American citizens skyrocketed, the LA Times reports. Experts attribute the jump—122,000 people took the oath, 84,000 more than in 2006—largely to an aggressive pro-citizenship campaign and a desire to beat steep fee increases. Applications rose about 50%, to 1.4 million, in the same period.
Community groups united in an effort to make immigrants aware of their naturalization options, helped along by a desire to have a say in the country's future, especially with a presidential election looming. "Immigrants are tired of the tone and tenor of the immigration debate," said one community organizer. "That climate has fueled their desire to have their voices heard."