FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Susana Flores 915.525.2434
Fernanda Durand

Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City and a Total of 51 Cities & Counties Oppose Proposed Fee Increases Pricing Out Millions from Citizenship and the American Dream

WASHINGTON – The mayors of Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, and 48 other mayors and county executives from cities and counties across the United States sent a letter on Wednesday, Dec. 18 to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) expressing strong opposition to a proposed regulation that would significantly increase the fees to apply for citizenship and other immigration benefits.

If allowed to go into effect, the proposal would:

  • Increase the citizenship application fee by 83 percent, from $640 to $1,170
  • Increase fees associated with a lawful permanent residency by 79 percent, from $1,220 to $2,195
  • Increase the cost of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewals, from $495 to $765;
  • Charge a fee for asylum for the first time in our country’s history; charging $50 for affirmative asylum applications and requiring asylum seekers to pay for a work permit while their application is pending
  • Eliminate most fee waivers
  • Transfer funds from USCIS to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for enforcement purposes, including denaturalization.

The draft rule is currently open for public comment until Dec. 30th and has yet to be implemented. The letter urges USCIS to withdraw the proposed rule and to increase the public comment period to 60 days.

Statement from Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Chicago

“The proposed fee increases are the latest cynical attempt by the Trump administration to discourage immigrants and refugees from coming to the United States and becoming full members of our society and political process. Our immigrants and refugees are key contributors to our history, economy, and culture, and these attacks on their ability to access citizenship and other forms of stable immigration status not only pose a threat to our future but are an affront to our highest values as Americans. Chicago is proud of our status as a Welcoming City for all people, and we will always fight to ensure every resident has the support and protection they need to provide for their families, fulfill their talent, and pursue their American Dream.”

Statement from Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles

“The American dream should not be open only to the highest bidder — and no rules and regulations should put a price on U.S. citizenship or legal status. With this cruel and un-American proposal, the Trump Administration is trying to create an insurmountable barrier between hard-working immigrants and their rightful place in our society — weakening our cities, undermining our communities, and harming our economy along the way.”

Statement from Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City

“Once again, the Trump administration is attacking the people we call our neighbors, our friends, and our families by making citizenship and immigration benefits unattainable unless you are wealthy. Immigrants, including those fleeing persecution and seeking safety, make our City what it is and I am proud to stand with mayors and county executives across the country to fight against this un-American rule.”

Statement from Magaly Arteaga, Program & Training Manager, National Partnership for New Americans

“The proposed rule is yet another attack on eligible immigrants whose American Dream is to become U.S. Citizens and be able to vote. This rule also discourages and makes it more difficult for immigrants to apply for a green card, DACA, asylum, and many other benefits, and for them to feel protected in a place they call home.”

Mayors and County Executives’ Letter HERE

Full list of signing mayors and county executives:
1. Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, City of Chicago, Illinois
2. Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City, New York
3. Mayor Eric Garcetti, City of Los Angeles, California
4. Mayor Jennifer Gregerson, City of Mukilteo, Washington
5. Mayor Sam Liccardo, City of San Jose, California
6. Mayor Jenny A Durkan, City of Seattle, Washington
7. Mayor William Peduto, City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
8. Mayor Libby Schaaf, City of Oakland, California
9. Executive Dow Constantine, King County, Washington
10. Mayor Brian Delzeit, City of Dodge City, Kansas
11. Mayor Jeffrey Slavin, City of Somerset, Maryland
12. Mayor Jesse Arreguin, City of Berkeley, California
13. Mayor Kristen Cloutier, City of Lewiston, Maine
14. Mayor Jacob Frey, City of Minneapolis, Minnesota
15. Mayor Jorge Elorza, City of Providence, Rhode Island
16. Mayor George Van Dusen, City of Skokie, Illinois
17. Mayor Jon Mitchell, City of Bedford, Massachusetts
18. Mayor Tom Butt, City of Richmond, California
19. Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, City of Baltimore, Maryland
20. Mayor Alan Webber, City of Santa Fe, New Mexico
21. Mayor Alejandra Cortez, Bell Gardens, California
22. Mayor Robert Garcia, Long Beach, California
23. Mayor Muriel Bowser, Washington, DC
24. Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, National City, California
25. Mayor Regina Romero, City of Tucson, Arizona
26. Mayor Tim Keller, City of Albuquerque, New Mexico
27. Mayor Tom Barrett, City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
28. Mayor Trey Mendez, City of Brownsville, Texas
29. Mayor Byron W Brown, City of Buffalo, New York
30. Mayor James F. Kenney, City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
31. Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, City of Atlanta, Georgia
32. Mayor Martin J. Walsh, City of Boston, Massachusetts
33. Mayor Antonio B. Esquibel, City of Northglenn, Colorado
34. Mayor Ted Terry, City of Clarkston, Georgia
35. Mayor Kate Gallego, City of Phoenix, Arizona
36. Mayor Michael B Hancock, City of Denver, Colorado
37. Mayor Luke A Bronin, City of Hartford, Connecticut
38. Mayor Jenny Wilson, Salt Lake County, Utah
39. Mayor Harry W. Rilling, Norwalk, Connecticut
40. Mayor Ron Nirenberg, San Antonio, Texas
41. Mayor Colin Byrd, Greenbelt, Maryland
42. Mayor Greg Fischer, Louisville, Kentucky
43. Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway, Madison, Wisconsin
44. Mayor Pauline Russo Cutter, San Leandro, California
45. Mayor Victoria Woodards, Takoma, Washington
46. Mayor Steve Adler, Austin, Texas
47. County Executive Marc Elrich, Montgomery County, Maryland
48. Mayor Randall L. Woodfin, Birmingham, Alabama
49. Mayor Frank G. Jackson, Cleveland, Ohio
50. Mayor Sylvester Turner, Houston, Texas
51. Mayor Laila Riazi, Cheverly, Maryland
The National Partnership for New Americans, is a national, multiethnic, multiracial partnership of 35 immigrants and refugee rights organizations across 37 states who work to promote citizenship and integration among our diverse immigrant and refugee communities for the benefit of all Americans.

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