The U.S. Department of Security is planning to greatly increase the cost to immigrants applying for citizenship or for a Green Card (work permit). In addition, for the first time ever in the U.S., there will be a fee for those applying for asylum.
The cost for a citizenship application, which will go up on October 2, will be $1,170, up 80-plus percent. The cost to apply for a Green Card will rise 83 percent, to $1,140, plus a 51% increase in cost for children. In addition, fee waivers for low-income immigrants are being eliminated.
Many immigrants who are eligible to become citizens are unable to pay for an immigration lawyer to help with their applications, and many will be unable to pay these increased fees.
That makes the work of the Littleton Immigrant Resource Center at Bemis Library even more essential. The Center is one of the few authorized in the state to assist immigrants with filings, and it does so at low cost.
Littleton has long been known as a community that reaches out and welcomes people from around the world. Certainly, the City has suffered loss of revenue due to COVID-19, but the Center’s budget is small in the scheme of things, and the pandemic should not be an excuse to end a program that is so important to so many. The City Council should continue funding for the Center’s important work.