USCIS Unveils New Fee Rule, Including NEW Partial Fee Waiver for Naturalization
1 million working poor can now afford to become U.S. citizens.
U.S.Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a final rule adjusting the fees required for most immigration applications and petitions. The new fees will be effective December 23, 2016. The fee rule has been made final after USCIS reviewed stakeholder feedback, including from NPNA and its members, during the 60-day public comment period for the proposed rule published.
The new fee rule establishes a three-level fee for application for naturalization (Form N-400). The standard fee will increase from $680 to $725 (including biometrics). USCIS will introduce a partial fee waiver that will apply to applicants with household incomes between 150-200 percent of federal poverty guidelines, or between $36,000-$48,000 per year (for a household of four). The full fee waiver for applicants with household incomes under 150 percent of poverty will remain in effect. Professor Manuel Pastor, Director of the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) at the University of Southern California, estimates that there are 1 million legal immigrants who will be eligible for the new partial naturalization fee waiver, and 2.7 million immigrants who are eligible for the full naturalization fee waiver.
“This new partial fee waiver, with the full waiver that has been in effect, will allow 3.7 million poor and working poor legal permanent residents to be able to become U.S. citizens and become full participants of our nation. Citizenship should not be a privilege limited to the wealthy and highly educated. This is an important step forward for our democracy,” said Eva Millona, NPNA Co-Chair and Executive Director of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition.
NPNA applauds USCIS’s introduction of a partial fee waiver. We have long advocated for a partial waiver that would apply to those earning 150-250 percent of federal poverty guidelines. NPNA has commissioned research from CSII at USC and the Center for American Progress, hosted summits at the White House on the barriers to naturalization for the working poor, and engaged in vigorous advocacy for five years to win this fight. We are grateful to our partners and allies in this work including SEIU, UNITE HERE, AFL-CIO, UFCW, Mi Familia Vota, the New Americans Campaign, the Naturalization Working Group, Cities for Citizenship, and Congressman Luis Gutierrez.
NPNA remains deeply concerned about some of the forthcoming fee increases. We are particularly disappointed with the increase to the application for citizenship certificate (Form N-600). The application will now cost $1,170. USCIS provides no explanation for the near doubling of the already exorbitant fee for this Form.
Supreme Court decides against five million, immigrant rights movement to fight for comprehensive reform
The fight for immigration reform and justice for immigrant families will continue
CHICAGO—Today, in a 4-4 affirmation of the 5th Circuit Court’s decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against our families and against President Obama’s sensible, humane executive actions to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation and to allow them to work freely in this country.
The Court’s ruling is disappointing and comes at a time when we must fight even harder than before to ensure the safety of our communities and to fight hate and racism. Our movement has fought to win the deferred action programs, and we have been working tirelessly to build capacity to implement them. NPNA and member groups have assisted thousands secure relief. This ruling not only deepens fear and separation among millions of Americans, but it also leaves another $2.1 billion in taxes the table, that could have added to the already $11.6 billion in state and local taxes that undocumented immigrants provide.
Through this setback, our work continues. We will continue to fight for a more vibrant, just, and welcoming America– and against attacks on our communities.
“NPNA and member groups have worked tirelessly to expand the capacity to bring relief to our families,” said María Rodriguez, Executive Director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition and NPNA Board Member. “Today’s ruling is a setback for millions of American families, but we will continue to fight for our communities to dismantle the detention and deportation machine that comes at such a high moral and financial cost”
“We are outraged that the Supreme Court decided to neglect the safety and unity of millions in our community,” said Angelica Salas,Executive Director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles and NPNA Board Member. “We know the law is on our side and now we must move forward and fight for real reform. We’re families, workers, students and we are proud to contribute to this nation.”
The President’s proposed programs were consistent with decades of actions taken by presidents of both parties. Additionally,the Supreme Court explicitly stated in 2012 that the federal government has “broad, undoubted power over the subject of immigration” under the Constitution.
DACA, introduced in 2012, currently provides relief and work authorization to 750,000 undocumented young people. The unfreezing of DAPA and expanded DACA programs could have allowed over five million to access similar relief. 2012 DACA is not affected by today’s decision. All who are eligible should continue to apply for DACA and to renew it if they already have.
CHICAGO – Today the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released data for the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2016 (January-March 2016). The data shows a 27.7 percent increase in applications received by USCIS relative to the same quarter of FY 2015. This also represents a 34.4 increase in applications over quarter 1 of FY 2016 (October-December 2015). In total, USCIS has received 439,889 citizenship applications in FY 2016. If this rate continues (overall 2016 numbers are 21.7 percent higher than 2015), then we will see 952,8000 new citizens and potential voters this year!
The naturalization process generally takes five months from start to finish. Applicants undergo a background check and must pass an exam, conducted in English, on U.S. civics and history unless they qualify for a waiver.
NPNA participated, during the same period, in the “Stand Up to Hate” campaign, convened by the National Partnership for New Americans in partnership with SEIU, Latino Victory Foundation, Mi Familia Vota, UNITE HERE, iAmerica and UFCW along with Congressman Luis Gutierrez. The campaign aimed to support eligible green card holders to become citizens in order to vote in November’s election. The campaign held 305 workshops across the country, engaging over 500,000 by educating them on the application process and directly assisting 12,781 to complete the application itself.
“The community is feeling the urgency to become citizens. In Colorado we’ve seen unprecedented turnout at our workshops. People are motivated by the current political climate,” said Julien Ross, Executive Director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition (CIRC) and NPNA Board Member.
ICYMI, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah recently did a hilarious segmenton the Stand Up to Hate naturalization efforts. They feature Chicago based organizations The Resurrection Project, Southwest Organizing Project, and Erie Neighborhood House.