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." (Read more Mexican-Americans stories.)