Obama Administration Holds Line on Citizenship Fees
ICIRR Praises Administration for Responding to Concerns and Keeping Citizenship Within Reach for Immigrants
This morning US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced its proposed new schedule for citizenship and other application fees. The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) is delighted to see that USCIS will not be increasing the total cost for citizenship, which now stands at $675—already more than three weeks pay for a minimum wage worker.
It is clear that USCIS and the Obama Administration have heard the concerns raised by ICIRR and immigrant communities across the country about the escalating cost of citizenship. The Bush Administration raised citizenship fees four times, from $250 in 2001 to the current $675—a 170% overall increase. As documented in ICIRR’s report Priced Out, the last increase from $400 to $675 in July 2007 put citizenship beyond the reach of many legal immigrants. Citizenship applications fell by nearly 60% after the last increase, according to the report.
ICIRR praises President Obama and his Administration for holding the line on citizenship costs. As a U.S. Senator, President Obama was lead sponsor of the Citizenship Promotion Act, which included provisions that would freeze citizenship fees. (ICIRR played a key role in developing this legislation.) As a presidential candidate, Obama also highlighted the importance of keeping citizenship affordable.
ICIRR has advocated strenuously against every naturalization fee increase over the past decade, and took national leadership in the charge against the 2007 hike. In addition, in partnership with the State of Illinois, ICIRR has promoted citizenship among Illinois immigrants through our New Americans Initiative. A national model, the New Americans Initiative has assisted more than 45,000 legal immigrants complete citizenship applications since 2005, and provided information to more than 292,000 immigrants. ICIRR remains committed to ensuring that immigrants in Illinois and across the country can realize their dream of full citizenship and participation in their new homeland.
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is a statewide coalition of 130 organizations dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society.