Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 070374
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File Number: 070374 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: R-193-07 Control: County Commission
File Name: OPPOSE INCREASE IN NATURALIZATION FEES Introduced: 2/5/2007
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 2/20/2007
Agenda Date: 2/20/2007 Agenda Item Number: 11A14
Notes: Title: RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY IN OPPOSITION TO THE 69% INCREASE IN THE NATURALIZATION FEES CHARGED BY THE UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES AND CALLING UPON THE PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS TO ADDRESS FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEMS IN THE EXISTING METHODS FOR FINANCING IMMIGRATION SERVICES
Indexes: NONE
Sponsors: Natacha Seijas, Prime Sponsor
  Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Co-Sponsor
  Carlos A. Gimenez, Co-Sponsor
  Sally A. Heyman, Co-Sponsor
  Joe A. Martinez, Co-Sponsor
  Katy Sorenson, Co-Sponsor
  Rebeca Sosa, Co-Sponsor
  Sen. Javier D. Souto, Co-Sponsor
  Bruno A. Barreiro, Co-Sponsor
  Audrey M. Edmonson, Co-Sponsor
  Barbara J. Jordan, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

Board of County Commissioners 2/20/2007 11A14 Adopted P

County Manager 2/14/2007 Additions 2/20/2007

Budget and Finance Committee 2/13/2007 2W Forwarded to BCC with a favorable recommendation P
REPORT: Assistant County Attorney Benitez read the foregoing resolution into the record. Commissioners Diaz, Sorenson, Souto, Sosa, Gimenez, and Chairman Martinez asked that they be listed as co-sponsors. It was moved by Commissioner Sorenson that this proposed resolution be forwarded to the Board of County Commissioners with a favorable recommendation. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Sosa. Chairman Martinez opened the meeting for public input, at Commissioner Seijas’ request. William Ramos, 600 Pennsylvania Ave. Suite 230, Washington, D.C., spoke in support of this proposed resolution. Hearing no other questions or comments, the Committee proceeded to vote.

County Attorney 2/5/2007 Referred Budget and Finance Committee 2/13/2007

County Attorney 2/5/2007 Assigned Robert A. Duvall

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY IN OPPOSITION TO THE 69% INCREASE IN THE NATURALIZATION FEES CHARGED BY THE UNITED STATES CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION SERVICES AND CALLING UPON THE PRESIDENT AND CONGRESS TO ADDRESS FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEMS IN THE EXISTING METHODS FOR FINANCING IMMIGRATION SERVICES

BODY
WHEREAS, our nationís and countyís newcomers are making valuable contributions to the social, cultural, and economic life of the United States of America and Miami-Dade County; and
WHEREAS, Miami-Dade County is home to many hardworking, tax-paying, legal permanent residents who are eager to become full Americans by pursuing the dream of U.S. citizenship; and
WHEREAS, on January 31, 2007, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a proposal that would raise the fees for starting the naturalization process from $400 to $675, an increase of 69%; and
WHEREAS, the USCIS anticipates that the fee hike will go into effect in June; and
WHEREAS, naturalization fees have been soaring since 1991, when newcomers paid $90 to apply for U.S. citizenship; and
WHEREAS, naturalization fee increases result from our nationís fundamentally flawed system of financing immigration services, which requires the USCIS to rely almost exclusively on application fees to fund the delivery of services to immigrants; and
WHEREAS, the USCIS believes that it needs this massive fee hike to pay for major infrastructure investments and process enhancements, such as improvements in the timeliness of background checks, modernization of its outdated business systems through technology upgrades, facilities improvements and enhancements in its personnel training and recruitment programs; and
WHEREAS, there are at least 300,000 legal permanent residents in Miami-Dade County who are eligible to apply for U.S. citizenship; and
WHEREAS, the proposed fee increase would place a nearly insurmountable barrier in the path of these legal permanent residents, many of whom have limited financial resources; and
WHEREAS, we believe that our system for funding immigration services should be a partnership between newcomers and the federal government where applicants pay a reasonable fee for quality services; and
WHEREAS, the USCISí proposed fee increase is contrary to the spirit of our nationís and countyís tradition of welcoming and integrating immigrants, and sends newcomers the wrong message at a time when they are seeking to embrace U.S. citizenship; and
WHEREAS, naturalization benefits Miami-Dade County by helping to ensure that newcomers become full participants in our nationís civic life; and
WHEREAS, the full participation of newcomers enriches and maintains the vitality of our democracy,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that:
Section 1. We strongly oppose the proposed fee increase by USCIS and demand a halt on the fee increase for all naturalization applications.
Section 2. We call on the Director of the USCIS to immediately provide President George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress with accurate information to ascertain the amount of federal appropriations that would be needed to enable the USCIS to modernize its operations, and enhance its naturalization services, without raising the naturalization fee.
Section 3. We call on President George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress to address the fundamental problems in our nationís system for financing immigration services by providing appropriations to supplement fee revenue to cover costs of major USCIS expenses such as infrastructure investments, process enhancements and capital improvements.
Section 4. The Clerk of the Board is directed to transmit a certified copy of this resolution to the Director of the USCIS, to the President of the United States, the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and the President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate for inclusion in the Congressional Record.



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