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.