Higher fees for immigrants seeking US citizenship could be responsible for a drop in applications, USA Today reports. The fee went from $400 to $675 last summer; applications are down almost 60% in the first 6 months of 2008, compared to the same period last year. “The expense has shut the door on many hard-working immigrant families,” an advocate said.
Immigration officials were quick to downplay the drop-off, saying it was a result of prospective Americans rushing to take advantage ahead of the fee hike. “We saw a lot of people who chose to file earlier than otherwise,” an official said. “We do see the numbers starting to come back up.”