Emilio Gonzalez, the director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service is proposing an increase in the fees people pay to apply for citizenship and the fees paid for applicants for legal permanent residency. If the new fee schedule is approved the application for citizenship will go from $330 to $595 (an increase of just over 80%) and the application for permanent residency will be increased from $325 to $905 (an increase of just over 178%).
Mr. Gonzalez explained why these increases were necessary:
“We need to grow. We need to strengthen. We need to modernize. We need to provide the very best possible customer service. We need to provide the very best possible security infrastructure for what we do.”
Consider the immigrants here in the United States who are here legally (they have their “green card”) and are working at low paying jobs trying to save enough money to apply for citizenship so they can perhaps get a better job and feel like they are part of that fabled “American Dream.” This increase will certainly delay the attainment of that “dream” and may either give them the incentive to work harder or, in some cases, discourage them and cause them to stop trying. The extra $265 is not, however, an insurmountable obstacle for those with the determination to succeed.
Now consider the foreigner who had been hoping to come to America to get away from their country; they are, in most cases, looking for a place where they have more opportunity and more freedom and perhaps less poverty and corruption. Suddenly the cost just to apply for legal entry into the United States has more than doubled. The United States has provided them with a new incentive — for some this will be to work harder and longer until they get the almost $1,000 needed to apply but in far more cases we’ve given them a new incentive to find a way to get into the United States illegally and take their chances.
They’ve no doubt heard that there are always ways to get paid “under the table” for the work they do here and they certainly know that we have millions of illegals here who are surviving without getting caught and deported, and they’ve probably heard the success stories — those “Americans” who boast that their grandparents came here illegally and now two generations later all their grandkids are American citizens. You are sadly mistaken if you think that it isn’t very well known that if you “drop a baby” in the United States, that baby is automatically a U.S. citizen and that it increases the chances that the parents will be allowed to stay here. These future illegal residents also know that there is a large and powerful lobby at work here that argues, on a daily basis, that compassion for the “plight of illegals” should override our laws and negate the views of the majority of Americans who don’t agree.
President Bush has promised to get tougher on illegal immigration; do a new incentive for illegal immigrants to come here and a new deterrent from full citizenship for those immigrants here legally qualify as getting tougher?
Whatever your view on this issue, this is, as of right now a proposed fee increase and the Immigration Service is accepting public comments for two months.
Philidelphia Enquirer: Administration seeks steep rises in immigration fees
From the blogosphere:
Immigration Watchdog: Bush Administration’s Plans To Increase Immigration Fees Comes Under Attack
NCLR (Nat’l Council of LaRaza): NCLR EXPRESSES STRONG CONCERN WITH THE FEE INCREASE FOR IMMIGRATION SERVICES