Thursday, February 08, 2007

Making It Tougher To Become A Citizen

Something that seemed to have been overlooked last week - from the L.A. Times:

Cost of U.S. citizenship likely to rise

U.S. immigration authorities Wednesday proposed hefty fee hikes for citizenship and permanent residency applications, pledging to use the revenue to help shorten processing time and improve service.

But the proposal, which would hike citizenship application fees from $330 to $595, drew immediate criticism that it would put citizenship out of reach for many poor immigrants. The plan also would increase overall fees for green cards, work permits and other benefits an average of 66%.

That hike of sixty-six percent is expected to take effect in June. While it's understandable that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are low in resources and funding and are looking for ways to increase both, it would make more sense to slowly increase fees over the course of several years or to ask Congress to renew the special appropriation that it granted in 2002. Such a steep increase in one shot is outrageous and one that many immigrants to the U.S cannot afford.
Angela Sanbrano of the Central American Resource Center in Los Angeles said that many of her immigrant clients struggled to pay the current fee and could ill-afford the increases.

"People will now have to make a decision as to whether to pay rent, buy food or become a citizen," she said. "Exercising your democratic right should not face these obstacles."

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are currently holding a 60-day public comment period that is scheduled to end April 2, 2007. If you'd like to weigh in on this obscene hike of fees, please go to the and perform a search using the drop-down menu - there is only one open public comment period on the USCIS docket.

The United States is a nation of immigrants. Let's not penalize those who wish to become new citizens just because we got ours.

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