Home of the Broke -- USCIS announces fee hike

This Fourth of July, aspiring U.S. citizens may want to skip the barbecues and forgo the fireworks to get ready for the month’s other big day -- July 30. That’s the day becoming a U.S. citizen will get a lot more expensive.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is preparing for an average fee hike of about 66 percent, and that means any applications or petitions postmarked or filed on or after that day must include the new fee.

In its packet of web materials, titled “Building an Immigration Service for the Twenty-First Century,” USCIS explains that the new fees are meant to ensure “appropriate funding to meet national security requirements and customer service needs, and modernizes an outdated business infrastructure.”

Or, as USCIS Director Emilio Gonzalez told a reporter during a May press conference, “we need the money.”

How can our big immigration bureaucracy be broke? (Dear Department of Homeland Security: Did Halliburton eat all of the money?)

Anyhow, apparently nearly 4,000 people contributed public comments before the new schedule was set. We’re guessing many of those commenters are already citizens, because, well, it seems fee hikes--and gouging others for cash--are as American as apple pie.

For those needing more information, follow this link to the USCIS web page.

--Mary Spicuzza

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