2007 May 30 Wednesday
US Immigration Fees Going Up

A step in the right direction.

US Citizenship and Immigration Services announced its long-awaited, and much-dreaded, schedule of fee increases yesterday.

As of July 30, when the fee hikes go into effect, it will cost an individual $675 to file a citizenship application. The current fee is $400.

The increases are expected to raise an extra $1 billion for the Citizenship and Immigration Services Department, which processes 6 million to 8 million applications each year, including those from immigrants seeking citizenship, legal permanent residency, or green cards; work authorizations; asylum petitions; and US citizen petitions to bring fiancées or adopted children into the country.

The extra money will be used to cover existing costs, which outstrip revenues at the fee-based agency, and to improve services, spokesman Shawn Saucier said.

The US CIS should raise its fees higher still. The citizenship fee should rise the most so that the agency gets enough money to conduct a very thorough background check on each citizenship applicant.

The citizenship fee is lower than the green card fee.

Under the increases, which cover almost all immigration benefits, the cost of bringing a foreign fiance or fiancee will jump from $170 to $455. The price tag for a "green card," or a legal permanent resident visa, will rise from $325 to $930, and the cost of citizenship papers will increase from $330 to $595.

This seems backward to me. Citizenship is a much bigger benefit to gain. Plus, it is a greater risk and cost for the rest of us. Therefore the agency should charge more for citizenship applications and use the money to conduct extensive background checks. Those background checks should include checks into welfare programs. Did the applicant use government-funded medical care?

Higher fees could also get used to do DNA tests and checks against DNA samples from crime scenes.

Modest proposal: For all citizenship applications the public should be allowed to submit evidence that could show that an applicant is not worthy of citizenship. Any citizen who submits evidence that leads to a denial of citizenship would get a large reward for saving us from getting saddled with a bad future citizen.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2007 May 30 10:40 PM  Immigration Policy

Bob Badour said at June 1, 2007 10:39 PM:

Actually, the green card is the bigger prize. Consider the immigrant who dreams of one day retiring to live like a king in the place of his birth. Why would he want to get taxed on world-wide income for the rest of his life?

The green card gives him the right to enter the US, to live in the US, and to enjoy all the benefits of life in the US.

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