NAKASEC Statement on Opposing USCIS Fee Hikes – Another Barrier to Civic Participation

For immediate release
July 27, 2007

Becky Belcore, KRCC, 773.506.9158
Eun Sook Lee, NAKASEC, 323.937.3703, ext. 205
Yu Soung Mun, YKASEC, 718.460-5600
Dae Joong Yoon, KRC, 323.937.3718

NAKASEC Statement on Opposing USCIS Fee Hikes – Another Barrier to Civic Participation

[Los Angeles, CA] The National Korean American Service & Education Consortium and its affiliates, Korean American Resource and Cultural Center in Chicago, Korean Resource Center in Los Angeles, and YKASEC - Empowering the Korean American Community, Flushing, reiterated their longstanding public opposition with the fee hikes scheduled to kick-in on July 30, 2007. The cost to become a U.S. citizen – filing the naturalization application and fingerprinting – will increase 68% from $400 to $675. Eligible individuals applying for legal permanent resident status will have to pay $1,010, an incredible 156% increase from $395.

“Immigrants applying for naturalization want to fully participate in America’s rich civic life. These fee hikes represent yet another barrier for immigrants. For low-income immigrants and their families who are struggling to make ends meet, these exorbitant fee increases prey on their economic vulnerability,” said EunSook Lee, Executive Director, NAKASEC.

“On top of the fee hikes, immigrants are facing anti-immigrant ordinances on the local level. Just last week, Prince William County in northern Virginia passed an ordinance that requires individuals using public services, such as the hospitals, libraries, and parks to show their immigration status. It is unjust and inhumane to deny immigrants these basic rights,” said Dae Joong Yoon, Executive Director, KRC.

One client at the Korean Resource Center in Los Angeles had this to say about the fee hikes,

“I need to wait 3 months to meet the 5 years continuous residency requirement.
At first when I realized that I would have to pay $275 more, I just wanted to forget the
naturalization process. But, I think the right thing to do is to have a voice in my
community and my country. With that voice I can fully participate in American
society. Then, in the future, I can oppose these kinds of unjust measures towards
immigrants, like the fee hikes, by voting.”

To promote and facilitate the full civic participation Korean American community and other immigrant communities, NAKASEC and its affiliates will continue to work on naturalization drives, voter registration, and voter education campaigns.