Led by the City of Boston and Mayor Martin Walsh, Mayor Gary Christenson recently joined 33 other American cities and counties along with the United States Conference of Mayors and the Metropolitan Planning Area Council (MAPC) in submitting an amicus brief in the Project Citizenship lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security.
Project Citizenship works with community-based organizations to help eligible, legal permanent residents overcome barriers to becoming a U.S. citizen. They filed suit in the Unites States District Court for the District of Massachusetts challenging a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) policy that would make it more expensive for U.S. residents to apply for naturalization. Beginning on October 2nd, USCIS is scheduled to nearly double the cost for applying for citizenship, increase the application fee for people seeking permanent residence (a green card) and eliminate the option of a fee waiver for almost all low-income residents. The amicus brief is filed in support of and to amplify the position of the Plaintiff Project Citizenship in its request of the Court to stop this policy from taking effect. It argues that in practice the new rule reserves citizenship for only those who can afford it.
With the assistance of Malden’s City Solicitor, Kathryn Fallon, the City of Malden joined in the filing of the amicus brief which explains how the challenged rule creates a “wealth test” for citizenship, reduces the number of eligible immigrants able to apply, and frustrates the efforts of municipalities to assist their immigrant communities with naturalization and foster a welcoming environment. “We felt that it was important to participate in this filing,” said Mayor Christenson. “All immigrants, regardless of their background or economic status, should have equal access to the naturalization process.”