Applications for U.S. Citizenship Decreasing
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The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), reports that following fiscal year 2008, there have been a decrease in applications for U.S. citizenship. In 2007, approximately 1.4 million individuals applied to become U.S. citizens versus only 518,000 in fiscal year 2008. Theories as to reasons why citizenship applications are down include the current U.S. economy as well as the increase in immigration filing fees. In July of 2007, immigration filing fees increased by almost 60 percent. Thus, many believe that the economy coupled with costly filing fees have reduced the demand for U.S. citizenship applications. Immigration officials are concerned about the decrease in naturalizations, in which legal residents of the United States become “assimilated” citizens. Applications for H1-B work visas have also decreased. Conversely, however, applications for permanent residency, or green cards, have remained unaffected.