2006 October 29 Sunday
Immigrant Advocacy Groups Oppose Citizenship Fee Hike

Some groups which want more fellow members of their ethnicities to become US citizens oppose a fee hike for processing citizenship applications.

Immigrant advocacy groups are decrying an array of proposed federal measures, including application fee increases and online filing requirements, that they fear will sharply reduce the ability of some legal immigrants to become U.S. citizens.

As President Bush signed a controversial bill last week authorizing 700 miles of new fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, immigrant rights groups charge that the U.S. Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services is erecting a virtual "second wall" that would disproportionately hurt Mexican immigrants, who tend to be less educated and earn lower incomes than others.

We should want to let in people who are less educated, who earn less, produce less, pay less in taxes, and use more taxpayer-funded services such as medical treatments? I don't think so.

The demand for easy entrance and easy path to citizenship is an entitlements mentality. They think they are entitled at our expense. Wrong.

Another way of thinking about this is that these people do not think US citizenship is worth $800.

Last week, a coalition of more than 230 religious, labor and immigrant rights groups delivered a letter to citizenship bureau Director Emilio Gonzalez, expressing strong concern about application fee increases that could double to $800, a "digital barrier" of a mandatory online filing system, extensive new paperwork and a revised history and civics test they fear could be more difficult.

"Together they appear to us a clear strategy pursued through administrative fiat to make the dream of American citizenship unattainable for many lower-income, less-educated immigrants," said the letter, which was initiated by the Chicago-based Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

I want nothing better than to make citizenship unattainable for lower-income, less-educated immigrants. Great idea. How about raising the cost of citizenship to, say, $25,000? Too low? How high would you suggest?

While I'm at it: Even residency permits should cost much more. Anyone who can't afford to pay, say, $10,000 a year to live here as a non-citizen isn't doing something important enough to be here.

Another approach: Sell at auction a relatively small (say 100,000) fixed number of citizenship slots per year. DItto for technical worker permits.

I can see one exception: Academic researchers make big contributions which the market does not do a good job of pricing. Market failure effectively prevents the vast bulk of research results from being sellable. So we could grant an exemption to worker permit fees for academic resarchers.

I'd also like the citizenship bureau to be required to do a search on each citizenship applicant to identify all uses of government-funded medical services by the applicant and the applicants dependents. In order to gain citizenship a person should be requiired to pay back all taxpayer-funded medical treatments and also to pay into an account to buy medical insurance for the applicant's family for, say, 10 years.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2006 October 29 02:57 PM  Immigration Policy

Wunderluster said at October 29, 2006 4:20 PM:

25K? What about U.S. citizens who marry foreigners? You can be in your mid 20's and marry a foreign woman/man who is educated and working at a comfortable middle class level but defintely can not afford 25K for citizenship or 10K for permanent citizenship. You just hurt their potential to have children or buy a house big time. There children will also be citizens, whom you have just, either deprived their mother or father citizenship or the children a comfortable middle class life for some time.

Do you actually think before you write these post or are you so full of anger at Hispanics and Muslims you forget that there are other immigrants who are legal, law abiding, hard working, and educated. Problem much more than your ancestors when they got off the boat and got citizenship for next to nothing...

Wunderluster said at October 29, 2006 4:26 PM:

Oh and before you deride me for being a foreigner...my wife is foreign (Asian). We met in college. She works and makes a very comfortable salary off of her income as an engineer, all by herself. My ancestors have been here since the early 1800's. This does not mean we can afford 25K or even 10K living in a major metro area with kids to provide for...we are very comfortably middle class, but not rich. The cost you are wanting is a downpayment on a house/condo, education expenses for children, half the price of a new car, etc. That's ridiculous.

My ancestors did not pay a damn thing to come here, just a ticket for the boat. How much did yours pay? How edcuated were they?

nz conservative said at October 29, 2006 5:57 PM:

The attitudes of immigrants rights groups show a crucial cultural divide between people of European ethnicity and people from non-Europeans backgrounds.

Non-Whites can't put their countries' interest before the interests of their extended family. For example, a Polish immigrant to the US would probably be happy just to bring their nuclear family with them. By contrast, an Indian or Mexican immigrant won't be happy unless they can bring their extended family with them.

This is one of the biggest problems with non-western immigration into western countries. Unless non-whites can discipline themselves to live without their extended families then they shouldn't be let into western countries.

Randall Parker said at October 29, 2006 6:17 PM:


I'd be happy to have a rolling discount for higher IQ immigrants. The further above, say, 110 you are the cheaper it gets.

As for my ancestors: Some of them shot at the British at the Battle of Monmouth. They weren't immigrants. They were settlers.

Yes, I think before I write the posts. I think a great deal. No, I do not try to write posts that'll avoid offending some readers. No, I do not try to make everyone happy. I try to consider what is best for the majority.

$25,000 for citizenship too much? I find that hard to believe.

I've known people who were looking for someone to marry in order to stay here. Putting a price on it would make marriage less abused.

Wunderluster said at October 29, 2006 7:34 PM:


A lot of people claim to know what is "best" for the rest of us. The leftist tend to be communist the rightest tend to be facist. I'm glad we live in a democracy the most dangerous men to ever walk the earth were those convinced they "knew best" and were "doing the right thing for all".

Wunderluster said at October 29, 2006 8:32 PM:


As far as Hispanics and immigration I see this is one of your pet topics along with IQ and Iraq.

I follow politics quite a bit and I can't see any major political party attempting to go out of its way at a national level to piss off Hispanics when the projections keep coming back that they will be 25%+ of the US population in less than 45 years. Blacks will be around 14-16% by that time? Asians like 10%...that's according to what I remember from the U.S. Census predictions. Most Americans outside the Border States don't seem to really be up in arms about immigration. I honestly see more walls being built and more patrols. There will be a cut back on illegal immigrants, to a certain extent, but big business wants them. Big business has big money lobbies; Hispanics are organized (specifically Mexican ethnics) and already have powerful lobbies. I don't see much changing.

I think you are trying to swim against a tsunami. I'm pretty pragmatic by nature. I have a few ideologies but I don't hold on to any so hard I can't disregard them when necessary.

I think that your time will be best spent (my opinion) excepting that you will be sharing a bigger piece of the political pie and this countries going to continue to be governed based on the needs and wants of various interest groups, the only thing is that the composition and size of various groups are going to change. The big political power pie is going to be divided a little different than before, but it still falls in line with what the founding father (specifically Alexander Hamilton) has wanted. Politics is all about sharing power. I can see you are quite intelligent, although I strongly disagree with many of your assertions and believe them based on fear (which I also think is understandable) I think using your intellect to figure out how to come up with mutually beneficial political solutions and reforms would be an amazing endeavor.

Just my two cents.

Vanishing American said at October 29, 2006 9:59 PM:

None of the Founding Fathers, to my knowledge, favored mass immigration from vastly different cultures. As for Alexander Hamilton himself, he said:
''To admit foreigners indiscriminately to the rights of citizens, the moment they set foot in our country, would be nothing less than to admit the Grecian horse into the citadel of our liberty and sovereignty.''
and: ''In the recommendation to admit indiscriminately foreign emigrants of every description to the privileges of American citizens, on their first entrance into our country, there is an attempt to break down every pale which has been erected for the preservation of a national spirit and a national character; and to let in the most powerful means of perverting and corrupting both the one and the other.''
The whole idea of this country being a melting pot with people from every corner of the earth did not come from the Founders; it was a much later addition, and not a wise one, IMO.
And by the way, my ancestors were also settlers/colonists before there was a nation called America. No comparison to those who came to an existing country.
And as far as making immigration too costly, most of the illegals apparently pony up thousands to be smuggled in. I'm not sure how much would be too much.
And yes, people outside the border states are definitely feeling the shock of the illegal immigration wave. It is not just a southwestern states issue.

John S Bolton said at October 30, 2006 2:01 AM:

We owe loyalty to fellow citizens, especially the net taxpayers, not to increase the aggression on them through allowing immigration on to net public subsidy.
We do not owe equality to people who died a century or two ago.
Egalitarian nonsense, such as saying that someone got something for free 100 years ago, therefore a fakey concept of justice requires that everyone afterwards should get the same thing for free, is typical of how easy it is to use equality to ask for injustice.

John S Bolton said at October 30, 2006 2:53 AM:

Citizenship should be made more expensive and difficult to obtain.
This way it is easier to deport hostiles and grossly parasitical residents of foreign origin, when, as may occur not so far off, there is an overwhelming majority able to force this on a treacherous offcialdom.

Wunderluster said at October 30, 2006 5:42 AM:

Vanishing America:

My ancestors were settlers too. They settled Ohio. :-) Homesteaders. They were poor and quite ignorant I would imagine, definately not coming from European upper classes, in fact that is one of the reasons they left. No social mobility and too much war.

Anyway the majority of immigrants are not illegal and they are not criminals. You would also punish them as well, so I would say a measure such as this is an overreaction to a true problem.

I am not for illegal immigration, I believe it is bad for all Americans. I am not for Bush's amnesty either. I do support the free movement of legal labor and I am not against immigration per se. I do not support multi-culturalism in that all cultures are equal. I think that multi-culturalism that says...many cultures contributed to this one and we should recognize that...is fine. That is far different from saying a Bushman's culture or a Amazonians Aermid's culture is equal to American and should be treated exactly as so. The latter I can not support.

Still I do not allow my fear of "the other" to cause me to go off the deap end. I go to work every day on a public metro with all kinds of people. I work in a major organization with all kinds of people. I have not see a problem yet with this and I have been white all my life...I have not see the average white Amernca person talk like you or as agitated as you over these issues.


Do you ever see that realistically happening? Honestly, we already deport and imprison criminals and terrorist on a daily basis. We should continue to do so. We have already given the president (quite recently) so much power that he can effectively "disappear" anyone at his discretion. We are already on that slippery slope. What else do you want that can reasonbly be done while at the same time keeping our social liberties in tact. The problem is that when you give the governemnt power to do these things, there are externalities that effect all of us. That is scary to me.

Bob Badour said at October 30, 2006 7:35 AM:
we already deport and imprison criminals and terrorist on a daily basis.

Have you seen the figures for immigration enforcement trends? The numbers are down to hundreds per year, which tells me deportation does not happen on a daily basis.

Wunderluster said at October 30, 2006 8:18 AM:


I agree that more needs to be done, I think we are in agreement with that. I support strong borders, believe me. I just think we differ in how this should be done.

Bob Badour said at October 30, 2006 10:56 AM:
I just think we differ in how this should be done.

To secure a border and to secure a barn are pretty much the same: establish a controlled barrier and round up all the ones that already got through.

How else would you establish a secure border?

Engineer-Poet said at October 30, 2006 8:07 PM:

I just want all the aliens who are net burdens on the taxpayer (that's me) to go home.  I don't care if they're Mexican, Chinese, Scottish or Martian, I only want immigrants who benefit the economy and think Constitutional government is just peachy.

All the other aliens ought to get a one-way ticket home.  Maybe we can take advantage of some of the bad judgement of our less-intelligent or drug-addled natives and persuade them to give up their citizenship for a few thousand dollars (or a supply of the drug of their choice).

nz conservative said at November 1, 2006 6:32 PM:

Why do liberal immigration adovcates always come up with sentimental arguments like- "my ancesters were uneducated immigrants without qualifications, and they turned out ok, therefore its unfair to turn away uneducated, unskilled immigrants from developing countries today.

In the past, there were a lot of intelligent people without qualifications, today there are very few. Most people today with high IQs have good qualifications - including those in the developing world. The only real serious issue in immigration policy is whether immigration should be based on skills/intelligence or ethnicity. I would advocate for a combination of both, as inequality, crime and policitcal instability are usually lower in monocultural countries with relatively intelligent populations.

With 6.5 billion people in the world, a growing shortage of resourses, and a global IQ average of just 90, liberal immigration policies are the height of stupidity.

Bob Badour said at November 3, 2006 5:54 AM:

I have been thinking about this post.

The United States is the land of opportunity. If one's contribution to the land of opportunity over a period of months or years fails to add enough value to raise $300, one's contribution is neither valued nor desired according to the most objective standard of all: the market.

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