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US Citizenship Requests Down; Price of Wall Up $400 Million

Barriers — financial and physical — could influence the makeup of newly naturalized Americans. After citizen application rates rose 70 percent, from $440 to $675, half as many people have applied for US citizenship in the beginning of this year compared to last year.

To become eligible for citizenship, a person must be a legal permanent resident who has lived continuously in the US for 5 years. Those that do apply sometimes use loans to foot the bill. Immigrant advocates say the fee exceeds processing costs, and they want the cost to be tied to federal minimum wage and funded by Congress.

Meanwhile, the Bush Administration wants an additional $400 million for the partially constructed 670-mile fence along the Texas-Mexico border. The fence, which impacts 480 landowners, already received a $2.1 billion apportionment from Congress in 2006.

By making citizenship more accessible to the wealthy, and spending an exorbitant amount of money on a keep-out wall, does America betray its immigrant heritage?


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PiNkY-PiNk PiNkY-PiNk 8 years
it's like I heard somewhere (don't remember where). "the berlin wall didn't work and even the great wall of china has come down on its own in some places." I thought it was interesting. but I do think that it's a wall of racism and classism. (correct term? lol). I think it's totally unnecessary.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I dont think its a monument to racism, but i can agree on the stupidity part. I myself could not pass the citizenship test, have you seen those questions?
FitZucchero FitZucchero 8 years
Arguably when it comes to the "drain on the economy", illegal immigrants are no more a drain than you or me. In fact, we might be more costly. So, I did a little digging and found some interesting examples. Let's take Texas for example, which seems to be a good example because of its location. In 2005 (the most recent credible example I could find of hard numbers), an estimated 1.4 million undocumented workers paid the state $1.58billion in taxes and fees. In return immigrants (not just said tax paying undocumented workers) cost the state of Texas approximately $1.16billion in public services including health care and education. More interestingly is the amount of money that pours into Social Security from "mismatched" social security numbers--these funds are caught into the Earning Suspense File. These are benefits that Americans can take advantage of, but the very people contributing to it will very likely never dare to make a claim. In 1991, the Earnings Suspense File stood at $8 billion, it currently surpasses $600 billion. So, what's the real problem? I don't argue that there is a drain, but I believe it's on the local level. The monies collected from these workers are generally speaking kept at a federal level. The burden should not be on schools and health systems and they should benefit from this influx of money. Sadly, I think the rising costs have more to do with making citizenship even more inaccessible to people than it does with the rising costs of "administration". This is across the board though, not just for citizenship, but also for the costs of simple visas. Even visiting the United States is becoming more and more difficult for countries that require visas. Thank goodness for that wall though, huh ;)
legalbeagle legalbeagle 8 years
hahahaha janneth so very true
janneth janneth 8 years
"Give me your rich, your PHDs, Your computer geeks yearning to breathe free, The wealthy folks of your teeming shore. Send these, the home owners with bank accounts (and nurses) to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Agreed with Mich here.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 8 years
i agree mich i was just giving you a bit of m, lol, i agree people need to bust their ass nothing is free, there are a few family members in mexico who i would never want to come to the states, lol, and i also believe they should not get hand outs i mena we work for what we have so should they
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Pink: Well like I said before, I wish everybody who wanted to come here was able to. I don't condemn Mexicans who come here illegally, I understand that they want to work for a better life, and I respect that. On a side note, one of my favorite celebrities came here as an illegal immigrant, and he's one of the hardest working people in show business. However, I just don't think our system that gives out free benefits can handle an influx of people. So we need to reform the system if we want everybody to be allowed to come to America.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 8 years
:wink: mich, i agree i mean i have my share of family that are Mexican Americans, legal of course some on visas some on family visas, some citizens, but when they came they were illegal but they NEVER have received welfare they learned English, so i wouldn't condemn them for trying to make a better life, they are not criminals they pay their taxes, but that's just me because i have experienced that first hand, now if they were here living off the government than hell no send them back, lol
Michelann Michelann 8 years
I know, I was just answering the question. Everybody is okay :)
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 8 years
thats all i wanted to know i was not jumping the gun it was simply a question
Michelann Michelann 8 years
Pink, I don't think I (or Jude) mentioned Mexicans specifically.
pinkprincess1101 pinkprincess1101 8 years
are you agreeing that all illegals should be deprived of these services or just mexican americans, and its just a questions, since this topic is about mexicans, whats wrong for one illegal should be wrong for all
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
"I think that benefits like schooling for their children and free emergency room care are also incentives, and part of the reason people complain about illegals." I agree with this statement.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
well i think that in some cases it's a good thing that there are things that people need to do in order to become a citizen, but in some cases it has to be really frustrating. i can understand why people would want to become US citizens, but it's like anything - converting religion, going to school whatever - it's going to take time and effort and even money to get there. in the rising costs of EVERYTHING, i'm not surprised that the cost as gone up as well, and it's just a sign of the times. if you want to live in the land of the free - then you have to really invest a lot of yourself to do that.
Michelann Michelann 8 years
A monument to racism? Probably not. But possibly a monument to stupidity. I like and agree with what Livvy said about the fact that illegals come here to work and will continue to find ways to come here as long as there are jobs for them. I think that benefits like schooling for their children and free emergency room care are also incentives, and part of the reason people complain about illegals. I would love if every person that wanted to come to the U.S. could do so, but right now they're a strain on the system. We need to get rid of the minimum wage so that companies don't have an incentive to hire illegals over citizens. Then we need to get rid of things like free emergency room care and schooling for their children so that they don't strain the system. I think the fact that any child born here (even to non-citizen parents) has automatic citizenship is also adding to the problem.
stephley stephley 8 years
keep us out.
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 8 years
Wouldn't it be cheaper to build the wall if they hired illegal immigrants to do the work? Actually, they wouldn't even have to be illegal immigrants, just pay Mexicans to build it on their side.
Meike Meike 8 years
Snowbunny, there are are some scenarios where it is possible to be a permanent resident for more than 5 years if you keep renewing your green card. In my case, I was born in an American hospital on an American Air Force Base in the Pacific to a non-citizen active duty personnel. I was naturalized 13 years after my birth despite my father obtaining U.S. citizenship far earlier than the rest of our family. Another case belongs to my friend and co-worker. Her father is Canadian and continues to renew his green card before every expiration. My German hubby intends to do the same unless we can both get dual citizenships in Germany and the U.S. I can only assume based on experience that the visa/citizenship process does discriminate by class. Less fortunate immigrants wouldn't be able to keep up with the renewal fees and such. What your friend went through sucks. Initially, my husband and I were going to apply for his school visa to attend grad school in Boston. It sounded all chummy until we found out about the waiting period. Two years, if I remember quickly. Spouse visa was easier. So, we got married, lol.
snowbunny11 snowbunny11 8 years
Wait can you even be a resident for five years? My friend came here four years for college, and then was unable to get a work visa (he was hired by a big bank in NYC) and had to go home for 6 months before they would give him one. He was then told his years here for educational purposes would not qualify towards citzenship, and that when his work visa runs out in two years, he will have to go through another waiting period to get another one. So I don't get how someone can reside here for 5 years anyway...legally... I didn't know we were still building that wall. That's the most ridiculous thing I've heard. I thought it was a joke...I am so out of touch!
livvylove livvylove 8 years
On the subject of illegals: I had a whole class in college dedicated to illegal Mexican immigrants and the conclusion I came to after countless videos and case studies is, these people will come as long as US businesses are hiring them. These people risk their lives, many of them die trying to cross the rio grande and they keep making the trip back. I say, penalize these businesses so much that wouldn't dare hire an illegal alien. If there aren't any jobs, these illegals will stop coming, or better yet come here legally.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Raising the application fees turns this even more into a class war. I have very strong opinions on immigration, and one of them is that turning the immigration debate into a class or cultural conflict only muddles the debate and makes it more difficult to come to good solutions.
stephley stephley 8 years
Two Billion dollars could have been put to much better use -that wall is just a monument to racism and stupidity.
legalbeagle legalbeagle 8 years
Im not totally familiar with the details involved with becoming a US citizen but surely there must be some way to make the path to citizenship easier for all involved. My relatives on both sides are Italian immigrants so I feel like our tradition of immigration should be kept intact. That being said, my family came here legally and had to have a sponsor to even get in the country. They came here poor and hungry and made something of themselves. I think this wall is unnecessary and a waste of taxpayer money. Stop hiring illigal immigrants at dirt poor wages and maybe people will stop jumping the border to work here, get on the path to citizenship, and start living their own American Dream.
geebers geebers 8 years
How funny you posted this - I just had a conversation with a friend about how he wants to be a citizen and keeps putting it off because of the new fee (and he was saving for the older fee). But to be fair- he COULD pay for it if he REALLY wanted it. I just don't think it is a priority for him. I mean I feel lucky I am born here and don't need to go through that extra step to be a citizen. I am not sure- I can see this both ways. There are a ton of things I had to pay for in life that I could not always afford but felt I deserved and I found a way to pay for it. I will probably get in trouble for saying this but I do think that people that really want it will find a way. But there should be some fee waiver system for those that have what it takes but truly cannot afford the fee.
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