EDINBURG, Texas (AP) — Hilda Vasquez squirreled away the money for her U.S. citizenship application by selling batches of homemade tamales at South Texas offices. Carmen Zalazar picked up extra babysitting jobs at night after caring for kids all day in Houston.
The women scrimped and saved for months to pay for the $680 application, but for other applicants in the future, it might not be enough.
As President Barack Obama renews his quest for immigration reform, some proposals would impose fines of $2,000 on top of application fees, making the financial hurdles much taller for people who are here illegally.
“You have more rights when you are a citizen, like to vote,” said Zalazar, a legal resident. As soon as she started a citizenship class, “I started to save because I knew otherwise it won’t be possible.”
The struggle is familiar to millions of immigrants. A 2012 survey by the Pew Hispanic Center showed that only 46 percent of Hispanic immigrants eligible to become citizens had done so. The top two reasons were lack of English skills and lack of money to pay for the application.
Ryan: Distrust of Obama so deep that immigration legislation unlikely to pass this year
WASHINGTON (AP) — Days after House Republicans unveiled a roadmap for an overhaul of the nation’s broken immigration system, one of its backers said legislation is unlikely to pass during this election year.
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said distrust of President Barack Obama runs so deep in the Republican caucus that he’s skeptical the GOP-led House would pass any immigration measure. He said a plan that puts security first could only pass if lawmakers believe the administration would enforce it — an unlikely prospect given Republicans’ deep opposition to Obama.
“This isn’t a trust-but-verify, this is a verify-then-trust approach,” Ryan said.