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Cárdenas and Ros-Lehtinen Call on USCIS to Stop Increase of Immigration and Naturalization Fees

Jul 7, 2016
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – In response to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service’s (USCIS) new fee schedule,  Representatives Tony Cárdenas (D-CA) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) have issued a letter to USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez, requesting that the agency reconsider implementing the new fees. 

“Becoming a citizen should be available to all who are eligible, not just to those who are wealthy,” said Rep. Cárdenas. “The new USCIS fee schedule will only make this process harder. It is imperative that we lower the cost of the naturalization process. When millions of law-abiding people achieve citizenship, our communities benefit and the U.S. economy grows and strengthens. ”

“Pursuing citizenship is the ultimate expression of an immigrants’ love for our nation.  We should make it easier, not harder, for those who play by the rules to become naturalized Americans and continue contributing to our communities,” said Rep. Ros-Lehtinen. “As a Cuban exile, I know that one of the proudest days in a new American’s life is the day that they swear to uphold our Constitution. More American citizens will strengthen our democracy and help imbue our nation with new lovers of liberty.”

Under the new proposed rule, the naturalization fee will increase by $45 dollars, bringing the total cost to become a naturalized U.S. citizen to $640 per person. In addition, there is a mandatory biometrics test that will cost $85 per person. This brings the total cost of naturalization to $725 – an exorbitant amount for any individual. The cost of naturalization continues to be the biggest barrier for legal permanent residents to apply to become U.S. Citizens. 

In addition, the letter calls attention to a proposed increase to the N-565 form to replace a naturalization certificate. Naturalized citizens are required to use their naturalization certificates for multiple reasons; to register to vote, to petition foreign relatives and to apply for a passport. The fee is set to increase by 61 percent from $345 to $555. Fees would also increase for families seeking to adopt. USCIS has proposed a 95 percent increase for parents who are already citizens but who are bringing their adopted non-citizen children to live with them. 

The letter, co-signed by 23 members of Congress, urges USCIS Director Leon Rodriguez to consider the negative impacts that the new fees will have on 8.4 million Legal Permanent Residents who are eligible to become U.S. citizens and asks that the USICS find ways to continue providing immigration and naturalization services without raising service fees to such high levels. 

Fees have tripled over the last decade, resulting in a drop in citizenship applications. Such increase in fees will only exacerbate this issue and go on to threaten the growth of the communities and industries that depend on immigration. 

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