Trump Administration Proposes Raising Costs for Citizenship

  • 12/02/2019
  • Reporters Desk

Washington, D.C.  – A coalition of leading immigrant rights organizations condemned the Trump Administration’s proposal to drastically increase the cost of applying for citizenship, a radical policy shift that would prevent millions of green card holders from beginning the naturalization process.

Applying for citizenship costs $725, which already makes the naturalization process too expensive for many green card holders. The administration’s new proposal would increase the cost to the applicant by $445, pushing the total cost to $1,170 and creating an unnecessary barrier to citizenship for millions of eligible applicants.

The administration also announced plans Nov. 9,  to eliminate a fee waiver program for lower-income green card holders regardless of how little they earn.

Further, the Trump administration said it would transfer $200 million in fees that had been collected by USCIS, the federal agency which processes naturalization applications, to ICE, the agency that is responsible for deportations and which has carried out family separations and the administration’s most hardline anti-immigration policies. 

If enacted, these changes would sharply reduce the number of new naturalization applications, especially from lower-income green card holders. That will create a wealth test for citizenship, one that could exclude hundreds of thousands—and potentially millions—of otherwise eligible applicants.

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