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Gives us your tired, your poor and $930

30 May 2007

No wonder it’s called a “green card”… you need a lot of green to get one:

WASHINGTON — The Bush administration will announce increases in immigration-application fees today that will nearly double the cost of citizenship and almost triple the cost of becoming a legal permanent resident.

Immigrant advocates and some members of Congress said the new fees, reflecting an average 66 percent increase from current costs, could bar poorer immigrants from attaining citizenship.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services officials countered that the increases were essential to help the overloaded agency reduce its backlog and speed up service.

“The reason we’re raising the fees, short answer, is that we need the money,” said Emilio Gonzales, director of the CIS. “A lot of people are going to be affected by this, there’s no sugar-coating it.”

Gonzales said 99 percent of the agency’s budget comes from user fees, a system based on the principle that immigrants should bear the costs of citizenship.

Under the increases, which cover almost all immigration benefits, the cost of bringing a foreign fiancé or fiancée will jump from $170 to $455. The price of a green card, or a legal permanent-resident visa, will rise from $325 to $930, and the cost of citizenship papers will increase from $330 to $595.

The fee increases come as the Senate debates a wide-ranging immigration bill that would give illegal immigrants in the United States, estimated to number 12 million or more, a way to gain legal status. Gonzales said the fee increase, which will take effect at the end of July, was not announced with the Senate bill in mind.

One Comment leave one →
  1. cactophile permalink
    1 June 2007 7:06 am

    The initial filing fee required to start the process of obtaining a “green” card is only tiny step in what is an expensive and incredibly long process. Applicants and their sponsors must demonstrate in excrutiating detail every aspect of their finances from providing income tax returns, all bank statements for a given year, to paying for real estate appraisals of their homes. Applicants and their sponsors must prove that they have the financial means to support not just the applicant his/herself but all members of a family at %125 of the poverty level even if all members of the family are US citizens except for the applicant. This is completely ridiculous. If only one person is applying for permanent residency, the mother of a family for example, then why are are we asking for proof that her citizen spouse and sponsor is able not only to support her but also be able to support their citizen children. If she doesn’t get residency and is deported the family is destroyed, one breadwinner in the family is taken away and we would still have to support the rest of the family. Not to mention that oftentimes the applicant is the primary breadwinner.

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