Today’s Dallas Morning News reports that there has been an 80% increase in citizenship applicationsĀ  during the first half of 2007, with nearly twice as many applications filed this June as were filed last June. Here are excerpts from the article:

Citizenship applications began increasing in the Dallas area last year, as legal and illegal immigrants worried about the rising public debate and legislative proposals targeting them. By January, applications surged on word of pending fee increases for applications – from $400 to $675 at the end of July.

Last month, there were more than 3,200 applications locally, compared with 1,699 in June 2006. As of June 30, about 16,200 people had filed this year for citizenship here, compared with 9,000 at the same time a year ago.

The rise is being aided locally by campaigns on local Spanish-language radio and TV and citizenship drives sponsored by Latino political groups.

The Spanish-language television and radio giant Univision revved up efforts with a campaign called “Ya Es Hora,” or “Now is the Time.” The campaign began in Dallas at the end of April.

Campaign organizers, including the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, are touting the benefits of U.S. citizenship to the hundreds of thousands of legal permanent residents in the U.S.