Starting in October, US Citizenship and Immigration Services will be increasing many of their fees, putting immigration legal petitions out of reach for many people. For instance, an application for naturalization will increase 83%! It will go from costing the already expensive $725 to well over $1000.
Fees for immigration applications are already high, and prohibitive for many individuals. For example, DACA recipients (children and young adults who were brought here by their parents) have to apply every two years to renew their status. Each time they have to pay $495, and this administration has even proposed making them pay that amount every single year!
In addition to fee increases, the United States will become one of only three countries that make people fleeing violence and persecution pay a filing fee to apply for asylum.
“Give me your tired, your poor,– The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
These aspirational words are inscribed on the statue of liberty, but given these changes it is even more clear that they do not describe our country anymore. Now more than ever we need individuals and communities to rally around our immigrant neighbors, showing them love, welcome, and acceptance.
We also need these same people to then vote for candidates that will ensure that immigrants are treated fairly, and with respect and dignity.