On April 5, 2019, the Trump administration announced that it was moving forward with a proposed regulation that would eliminate the policy that makes those who receive a means-tested benefit (such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) eligible for a fee waiver. The proposed regulation would reverse a policy that NPNA and its members fought for and won during the Obama administration. The change could come as early as late May 2019.
Once in effect, the proposed regulation would make it more difficult for over 244,000 elderly, low-income, and working poor immigrants to apply per year for citizenship alone. It would also make recipients of means-tested benefits ineligible for the fee waiver when applying for temporary protected status, work authorization, lawful permanent residency after receiving asylum or special immigrant juvenile status, and other forms of relief. The proposed regulation is an attempt to make citizenship only for the wealthy, is another “second wall” barrier against citizenship, and is part of the administration’s comprehensive attack on immigrant communities.
NPNA, the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition – CIRC as a member and partners intend to fight back and get one million new citizens naturalized by 2020. Will you join us?
These are actions that you can take to tear down the second wall and get #OneMillionby2020:
1) Submit a comment opposing the proposed regulation. The more individualized and unique comments submitted, the slower the process will take to finalize the regulation. This gives us more time to naturalize our family and friends before the regulation limits their access to citizenship, among other forms of relief.
You can submit your comment HERE by May 6th, 2019.
2) Encourage your family, friends, and neighbors to visit your organization for a screening and see if they’re eligible for citizenship, especially if they are receiving a means-tested benefit, and potentially apply. So that they can protect themselves and their family, vote, have access to better-paying jobs, and can empower themselves politically!
See a list of citizenship workshops across the country HERE.
You can use this one-pager on the proposed change HERE.
3) See if you or your community member is eligible for the fee waiver through the means-tested benefit or the two other possibilities: (1) income is at or below 150 percent of the Federal Poverty Guidelines; or (2) financial hardship, based on extraordinary expenses or other circumstances, that makes an applicant unable to pay. You can check your eligibility HERE.
These last two ways of getting a fee waiver will still be available even once the proposed regulation goes into effect. But it will require more documentation. So if you’re receiving a means-tested benefit, apply now before the regulation makes it cost-prohibitive. Apply now to vote tomorrow!
4) Contact your Members of Congress and ask them to send this letter to USCIS, urging them to take action on the backlog of citizenship applications and processing delays, which are so bad that they risk preventing people from naturalizing and then being able to register to vote in time for the Presidential election of 2020.
5) You can also contact your Congressional member and ask them to submit comments opposing the proposed regulation.
If you’re interested in contacting your Congressional member, please e-mail Diego Iñiguez-López at firstname.lastname@example.org) Share your story with us and raise your voice against the second wall and for #OneMillionby2020! Please e-mail your stories to Diego Iñiguez-López at email@example.com