This post contains information I’ve wanted to share for quite some time. Some of you may be aware of what I’ve presented here, but if not, it may come as a surprise.
Becoming a U.S. Citizen is not an easy process. Nor is it cheap. Little wonder that many of the people coming from poverty-stricken countries do not rush to the nearest office and apply.
The current filing fee for Form N-400, the Application for Naturalization costs $725 (updated-2019). This includes the $640 citizenship application fees and the $85 background check cost.
That’s a lot of money. And this cost will only get more expensive as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) raises fees in the future.
Fortunately (?), the USCIS has recognized that not everyone can afford to pay these fees so they have established a fee waiver process. However, the requirements are burdensome in that the applicant must provide documentation of their “inability to pay.” For those who are not English-speaking, the process cannot help but be overwhelming.
Moreover, if the individual has immigration violations or arrests, they must hire a lawyer (more $$$) to assist them. (Based on the current climate, there are undoubtedly some who would fall into this category.)
Some immigrants go around the naturalization process and apply for a “Green Card,” which currently costs $540 (also not cheap) and allows them to be “lawful permanent residents.” However, several eligibility requirements must be met before even the Green Card can be issued so the process can get complicated. Further, these cards must be renewed (at an invariably higher amount) every 10 years if the individual wishes to remain in the U.S.
There is another path to citizenship that may be used. In fact, if the current administration wasn’t so bound and determined to STOP immigration, many individuals from drug-infested Central American countries would most certainly qualify.
It’s called Asylum Status and is available to anyone in the United States who has “suffered persecution in his or her home country or who has a well-founded fear of persecution if he or she were to return to that country.” While there are a couple of qualifications that must be considered –i.e., “the persecution must be done by the government, or by a group that the government is unwilling or unable to control” — from all that I’ve heard and read about the drug cartels, it seems the latter would certainly be relevant.
It’s just my opinion, but considering the mess that exists at our southern borders, wouldn’t it make sense to temporarily loosen some of the requirements and allow these people to follow the path to citizenship? Stop punishing them simply because they’re seeking a better life … and for some, escaping death.
Unfortunately, as most of us know, it’s not about making sense …
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay