U.S. Citizenship To Carry An Expensive Price Tag

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Pro-immigrant marches and rallies have taken place in cities across the country to demonstrate how immigrants want to be treated with dignity and respect.

Angelita Garcia Alonzo, a Santa Teresa Catholic Church community volunteer said, for immigrants, there is only one real way for that to happen.

"They can only acquire that when they become American citizens and legal residents," Alonzo said.

Alonzo, who also works with the local chapter of Justice for Immigrants, said that is the goal of many in the Brazos Valley's large immigrant community. However, noticeably higher fees from the United States Citizen and Immigration Services could present a problem.

"It will create a hardship especially for those working class families," Alonzo said.

Starting July 30th, immigrant and non-immigrant applicants and petitioners needing paperwork must pay the new fees. Services affected by the price change is the application for naturalization which currently cost $330 will be $595.

Plus, any necessary biometric services or fingerprinting that is required will cost $80. In addition, individuals who seek legal permanent status will see a huge jump.

Right now, Green cards cost $325 plus $70 for mandatory fingerprinting, but in two months the card alone will cost $930 plus $80 dollars. The new total cost is $1,010, but there are exceptions. Persons 14 years-old and under or at least age 79 would be charged less and they would not be finger-printed.

Alonzo said despite the cost, legal and illegal immigrants are determined to be recognized as part of the U.S.

"They will do everything they can to come up with the money and to do what they need to do to make themselves part of the American society," Alonzo said.

The pending price hike will touch all international communities, even the one at Texas A&M. The university's Director of International Faculty and Scholar Services, Mario Rojo del Busto said his office began telling personnel about the changes in February.

"We informed the university community, academic departments, administration units of the proposed fee impact," Rojo del Busto said.

Since the higher fees for non-immigrant petitions will affect a number of A&M's current and future international employees, they have instructed hiring departments to submit new documentation and extensions for those that are expiring within the next six months.

"To see if we could process everything prior to the effective date," Rojo del Busto said.

He also said the fee changes create another element to consider in the hiring process.

"It impacts the hiring departments and the professors and researchers because it is a burden to them and they have to factor that into the hiring," Rojo del Busto said.

For more information about the fee changes, you can visit the U.S. Citizens and Immigration Services website by clicking on the link below.