Op-Ed: Scars from the Immigration Wars
To kick off 2014, The Chicago Tribune published an op-ed, “Scars from the Immigration Wars,” co-written by NPNA Executive Direcgtor Joshua Hoyt and Professor Manuel Pastor of the University of Southern California. The op-ed talked about the history of anti-immigrant and racial backlash in America and its lasting scars - and the challenges these present in our current political landscape:
“While last year did not bring the comprehensive immigration reform that advocates desired, one key feature of the political landscape has changed: the white-hot hatred of immigrants in years past has burnt out.”
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Pérez stands with New Americans
The sixth annual National Immigrant Integration Conference was a huge success! Several powerful leaders joined over 600 immigrant integration practitioners to discuss strengthening immigrant rights and making America more inclusive, including U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Pérez. Pérez addressed NIIC 2013 on November 18th during a lively plenary on the Transformational Power of Reform.
Pérez serves as the nation’s 26th Secretary of Labor, and was sworn in on July 23, 2013. Previously, Pérez served as Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice and as Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. In 2002, he became the first Latino ever elected to the Montgomery County Council.
Action Alert: Sign-On Letter to Lower the Naturalization Fee!
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez just published a powerful op-ed in the New York Times about how the high cost of citizenship prices out promising New Americans.
Their concerns over ever-rising naturalization fees strengthen the work the National Partnership for New Americans has been doing as part of our “Becoming Americans” campaign, to allow hardworking immigrants to pursue their dream of becoming U.S. citizens.
The Partnership is calling on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (U.S.C.I.S.) to examine its fee structure and to reduce the costs of U.S. citizenship, especially for the working poor. We are also calling on Congress to recognize the value of citizenship by investing in immigrant integration and putting naturalization fees within reach for our newest Americans.
The time is ripe to consider these changes given the focus on comprehensive immigration reform in Congress.
NYT Editorial Echoes Our Support For Lower Fees
A recent report commissioned by the Partnership, "Nurturing Naturalization: Could Lowering the Fee Help?", highlights the barrier that high citizenship application fees creates for promising New Americans. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and U.S. Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) echo this concern in a strong op-ed in today's New York Times, calling for a sensible fee structure that encourages citizenship by reducing the naturalization fee, which, they say, is “one of the biggest obstacles on that path."
"The fees to become a naturalized citizen have risen significantly over the last decade," said Emanuel and Gutierrez in the op-ed. "In 1999, a citizenship application cost $225. The near-tripling of the fee since then has led to a sharp drop in applications for naturalization."
Investment in Citizenship Will Strengthen Country, Assist Promising Americans Currently Being Priced Out
An investment in citizenship and reduction of naturalization fees will strengthen our democracy and will keep the United States economically competitive globally, a group of researchers and immigrant advocates said on a national media call today. A new report — "Nurturing Naturalization: Could Lowering the Fee Help?" — indicates that for working poor immigrants with less education and income, the $680 cost of applying for U.S. citizenship has become a major barrier to becoming Americans — especially for Mexican immigrants.
The "Nurturing Naturalization" report was conducted by the University of Southern California Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) and commissioned by the National Partnership for New Americans (Partnership). Together with a report released last week by the Pew Hispanic Center (“The Path Not Taken”), the new report shows that the American dream of citizenship has become unaffordable for many immigrants to the U.S.