Values Over Dollars: Fair Path to Citizenship!

  • by: Care2
  • target: Acting Director Jonathan Scharfen, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

U.S. citizenship is an invaluable privilege. But this privilege is more attainable for only some, rather than all hardworking immigrants. The fee to apply for citizenship has increased from $400 to $675--a whopping 69 percent! In addition, the fees to apply for permanent residence now total an astounding $1010. Fee waivers are offered, but low-income applicants are consistently denied.

While it is reasonable to expect a fee, the $675 is disproportionate to living standards. The fee has increased by 610 percent in the past ten years, while the minimum wage has only increased by 27 percent.

This increase in fees:
--Deters from the ideals behind American citizenship, rewarding wealth over loyalty and integrity.
--Discriminates against lower-income immigrants, undermining the American values of equality and justice.
--Prohibits immigrants who have resided in the U.S. for years, paid taxes and abided by the laws to vote and participate in a democracy.

The U.S. has long been a land for immigrants to come together and contribute, but these fees only create more barriers to integration. It's time for a fair and equal path to citizenship. Call for lower fees and proper allocation of funds of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Dear Mr. Scharfen:

It is shocking to hear that the fee to apply for U.S. citizenship has increased by 69 percent, from $400 to $675. In addition, the fees to apply for permanent residence now total an astounding $1010. Although the USCIS offers fee waivers, low-income applicants are consistently denied.

While it is reasonable to expect a fee, the $675 is disproportionate to living standards. The fee has increased by 610 percent in the past ten years, while in the minimum wage has only increased by 27 percent.

These fees are to cover the cost of processing applications and to provide better service, but they are also used for unrelated procedures, such as refugee and asylum services, litigation expenses and administrative costs. Immigrants seeking citizenship should not be held responsible for these unrelated aspects of the USCIS.

This increase in fees deters from the ideals behind American citizenship, rewarding wealth over loyalty and integrity. It discriminates against lower-income immigrants, undermining the American values of equality and justice.

In addition, these fees silence the voices of many. Immigrants who have resided in the U.S. for years, paid taxes and abided by the laws are unable to vote and participate in a democracy. The fees only create more barriers to integration.

I propose that the application fee be adjusted in accordance to the minimum wage. In addition, applicants should not be responsible for the costs of other services, and should instead only fund the services and procedures that apply to them. This would be a just path to citizenship.

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