Eighty immigrants rights groups have signed on to city Controller Scott Stringer’s proposal for a public-private fund to cover the hefty fee of applying to become a U.S. citizenship.
Representatives from the groups added their names to a letter Stringer sent to Mayor de Blasio’s commissioner for immigrant affairs, Nisha Agarwal, on Monday — citing the need for resources for immigrants in the face of President Trump’s hostile policies.
“With immigrant communities across the city at risk of being torn apart by federal immigration policies, we believe that helping more of our neighbors and friends become citizens can keep families and communities together, grow our economy, and make our city stronger,” the letter reads.
Organizations signing on to the letter include the New York Immigration Coalition, Make the Road New York, the Hispanic Federation and the Arab-American Association of New York.
It currently costs $725 to apply for citizenship — a fee that has gone up 500% since 1989.
Many immigrants applying for citizenship face additional fees for legal representation or English language classes, advocates said.
The plan put forward by Stringer calls for the city to kick in $20 million and to accept private donations to the fund.
It would help subsidize the cost of the fee for eligible immigrants with incomes under $61,000 for a family of three.
“No one should have to choose between becoming a U.S. citizen and putting food on the table,” Stringer said in a statement.
“While Washington tries to put up walls, we have to tear down these financial barriers in New York. That’s why so many organizations across the city are now speaking out.”
The controller’s office estimates that 180,000 New Yorkers would be eligible.
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