News From the Border

Providing the news from a different front but from a war that we must win as well! I recognize the poverty and desperate conditions that many Latinos live in. We, as the USA, have a responsibility to do as much as we can to reach out to aid and assist spiritually with the Gospel and naturally with training, technology and resources. But poverty gives no one the right to break the laws of another sovereign nation.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Wait May Foil Immigrants' Right To Vote

BY SARAH GARLAND - Staff Reporter of the Sun

February 27, 2008
The federal government is struggling to deal with an unusual increase in applications from immigrants who want to become American citizens, resulting in waits of at least 16 months that are threatening to prevent immigrants from voting in November's presidential election.

New numbers released yesterday show a surge in citizenship applications last summer to be much more concentrated during the month of a fee hike by the federal government than previously thought.

The fees to apply for American citizenship rose to $675 from $400 starting July 30, 2007. In July 2007, applications jumped by more than 600% from the previous year. In that one month, 460,294 people applied to become citizens, according to numbers obtained from the federal government and released yesterday by the Migration Policy Institute, a pro-immigration think tank whose chairman is the Bishop of Brooklyn, Nicholas DiMarzio.

"It's a really dramatic increase," a senior fellow at the Migration Policy Institute, Doris Meissner, who was commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service during the Clinton administration, said. "It's the volume that is unusual."

Some critics and immigration advocates have suggested the United States Customs and Immigration agency was unprepared for the large number of people who applied before the increase in fees went into effect. The long wait — now at least 16 months for applicants who filed to become naturalized citizens after June 2007, up from six months for those who applied before — is threatening to prevent many immigrants from voting after they had specifically applied in the hopes of participating in the presidential election. Legal permanent residents who applied after June 2007 have received letters advising them that they can expect to schedule their interview with immigration officials in about 500 days.

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