ICIRR Urges Eligible Immigrant Community Members to Apply for U.S. Citizenship
CHICAGO (Nov. 25, 2019)--Under a new rule by the Trump administration, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced on Nov. 14 that it will increase its fees and eliminate fee waivers for citizenship applications. In response, the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) and its members and partners are urging eligible immigrant community members to apply for U.S. citizenship as soon as possible.
The proposed fee increases will drastically limit access to citizenship, asylum, DACA, and other immigration benefits to those who are eligible. In Illinois, over 40% of citizenship applicants are eligible for waivers. The Trump administration’s new rule purposefully harms low-income community members, and its impact will exclude millions nationally from citizenship and other immigration benefits for which they are eligible.
The rule is open to a public comment period until Dec. 16th, but ICIRR is working with national partners to extend it to January. Community advocates are encouraged to submit comments against this new rule as soon as possible here. Key highlights to this rule, and what community leaders can do include:
• Informing community members on naturalization application fees and fee waivers. A filing fee increase on naturalization application fees will rise to $1170 including biometrics, and eliminate fee waivers for naturalization and most other immigration benefits (I-912 and I-942). At the same time, USCIS will transfer over $200 million to ICE. The proposed fee increases will not go into effect before the public submits comments and DHS goes through the process of considering the comments and publishes a final rule. This could take several months.
• Utilize additional resources on this new rule, including:
- CLINIC’s Fee Schedule Fighters listserv at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Stay up to date by checking CLINIC’s Fee Fighters webpage. CLINIC is drafting a template comment for your organization to use and making available a “Click to Comment” link to facilitate public comment.
- NALEO has developed numerous resources to fight these unfair changes, including ways to request support from Members of Congress, sample resolutions to oppose the proposal, a social media guide, and factsheets to share messages about the proposal.
• Ensure Legal Permanent Residents (LPRs) are provided with legal assistance.
- ICIRR has mobilized its partners to assist as many LPRs as possible to apply for naturalization before the increased fees to into effect. ICIRR’s New Americans Initiative partners across Illinois can help process applications.
- Use these community alerts prepared by partners in the ILRC to get the message out.
The Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights is dedicated to advancing the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society.