Week Ending October 28
This week in immigration: USCIS announces new fee schedule and guidance on ‘extreme hardship’; new report shows benefits of DACA extend into communities across the country.
USCIS issues new fee schedule: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) published a final rule adjusting the fees required for most immigration applications and petitions. The new fees will be effective December 23, 2016 and there is an average 21 percent increase in most application fees. The fee rule has been made final after USCIS reviewed stakeholder feedback. During the comment period earlier this year, NCLR expressed disappointment at the increase of fees, but was encouraged by the creation of a new partial fee waiver.
One of the results of the final rule is a new three-level fee system for the application for naturalization (Form N-400). The standard fee will increase from $680 to $725 (including biometrics). USCIS will introduce a partial fee waiver that will apply to applicants with household incomes between 150-200 percent of federal poverty guidelines, or between $36,000-$48,000 per year (for a household of four). The full fee waiver for applicants with household incomes under 150 percent of poverty will remain in effect. Professor Manuel Pastor, Director of the Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) at the University of Southern California, estimates that there are 1 million legal immigrants who will be eligible for the new partial naturalization fee waiver, and 2.7 million immigrants who are eligible for the full naturalization fee waiver.
USCIS will host a conference call to answer questions regarding the final rule on November 2nd at 3:30 Eastern. To register for the USCIS call with Director Rodriguez, click on the USCIS registration page and follow the instructions.
With Citizenship Day on September 17, we are proud to announce that we have begun a new Citizenship Application Assistance Project. Affiliates in Arizona, Florida, California, Illinois, and Massachusetts will now provide application assistance to eligible lawful permanent residents (LPRs) to become naturalized U.S. citizens.
NCLR has actively worked on the issue of citizenship since 1991, when we released the report Unlocking the Golden Door, calling for policy reforms and increased engagement by NCLR Affiliates to encourage Hispanic immigrants to naturalize. In 2009, we launched our Citizenship Assistance program. Over the course of two years, we worked with about 48 NCLR Affiliates, local community organizations, and several cooperating businesses to help 11,340 LPRs complete their naturalization applications. During the upcoming year, NCLR will provide subgrants, training, and technical assistance to NCLR Affiliates to expand naturalization programs.
We have just published a new brief that describes the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services’ fee review process to explain how the fee is established. It also explores the effect of the fee on naturalization rates.
This brief will provide related recommendations for the administration and for Congress to further encourage eligible immigrants to apply for citizenship.
Download and read it today.
Week Ending April 15
This week in immigration: Oral arguments for administrative relief to be heard Monday; USCIS releases new N-400; and deadline for USCIS grant opportunities for citizenship and immigrant integration coming up soon.
NCLR kept the community informed with staff quoted in The Associated Press, The Orlando Sentinel, and El Diario NY.
Groups make final push ahead of next week’s oral arguments on administrative relief: Monday’s oral arguments at the Supreme Court in United States v. Texas will potentially decide the fates of five million individuals currently residing in communities across the country. In preparation for Monday, stakeholders are demonstrating the significance of this case. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus held a press conference earlier today to highlight families affected by the decision. Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez wrote about the need for sensible administrative relief in an op-ed in the Dallas Morning News. The American Immigration Council released a new guide to the case that provides answers to questions about what is at stake, the specific issues at hand, and the long-term impact the decision will have on the country and its future. Education Weekly penned an article about the implications the decision would have on school-age children; Pomona College Dean of Students Miriam Feldblum wrote a similar piece in The Chronicle of Higher Education framing the issue in the context of higher education. Finally, NCLR will join advocacy groups from across the country in front of the Supreme Court on Monday morning at a rally in favor of administrative relief. Follow NCLR on social media for updates from the rally!
Week Ending March 25
This week in immigration: New report shows 6.1 million U.S citizens live with a DAPA-eligible family member; USCIS provides updated statistics on DACA recipients; and the American Action Forum looks at the costly proposal required to remove all undocumented immigrants within two years.