Article on Natz Application Fees

ABC News has a well-written article this week about the high cost of citizenship. Here's a preview:

High Fees Limiting U.S. Citizenship to Wealthy, Non-Mexicans

Citizenship application costs rose so drastically during the George W. Bush administration that naturalizations dropped dramatically, particularly for legal permanent residents who were poorer, less educated and of Mexican origin, according to advocates pushing the Obama administration to reduce the fees.

"Right now, cost has become such a barrier for the working poor that citizenship is becoming a privilege that is limited to wealthy immigrants, and the working poor, especially Mexican immigrants, are being excluded from the benefits of citizenship," said Joshua Hoyt, co-chair of the National Partnership for New Americans.

While some 11 million people in the U.S. have waited for Congress to pass laws that would move them toward American citizenship or legal status, another 8.8 million people in the U.S. already eligible to apply for citizenship haven't applied for it.

In 2000, the start of the George W. Bush administration, the cost of applying for citizenship was $225. That increased rapidly, so that by 2008, the final year of his administration, the cost was $675.

The naturalization fees have remained unchanged under President Barack Obama. Fee waivers exist for applicants who can meet a means test and have household incomes of 150 percent of poverty.

Advocates had asked Obama to consider a partial fee reduction for applicants with incomes between $35,751 and $59,585, which was 150 percent and 250 percent of poverty for a family of four in 2013. They hoped the waiver would be included in the president's executive action on immigration issued last November.

See the whole article here: