The L.A. Times reports a dramatic increase in the number of requests for naturalization since January of this year. The reason? The Department of Homeland Security has announced a three-fold increase in fees for all levels of immigration processing, and many see an opportunity to apply for citizenship before the rate increase goes into effect. The overall increase in applications started to increase after the immigration rallies in March, 2006, and have spiked again as immigration reform appears to be moving toward consideration by Congress.
The article reports that there are some 8 million legal permanent residents who are eligible to apply for citizenship. While many are initiating the process for personal reasons (i.e., to make it easier to reunify their families in the U.S.), others are doing it so that they can become more involved in the political process. As one gentleman interviewed for the L.A. Times article noted, “I can do better for my people… I can help with my vote.”