(New York, NY) – Comptroller Stringer today released the following statement on the City Council’s inclusion of his NYC Citizenship Fund, which would subsidize citizenship applications for thousands of immigrants in New York City, in its 2019 Preliminary Budget Response. First proposed by Comptroller Stringer in May of 2017 in a groundbreaking report, and later backed by 80 different advocates and immigrant rights organizations across the five boroughs, the Citizenship Fund would help eliminate the financial barriers and cost of application for those who need help most.

  • The need is large: More than 670,000 New Yorkers – over 20 percent of the city’s immigrant population – are eligible for naturalization, but have not taken the final step to citizenship.
  • Costs are soaring: The fees associated with the naturalization form have increased from $60 in 1989 to $725 today, an increase of 500 percent when adjusted for inflation.
  • Price matters: After it was announced that the form-filing fee would be increased from $400 to $675 at the beginning of FY2008, the number of citizenship applications surged 89 percent from the year prior. After that price increase took effect, applications plummeted by more than half.

“When we first proposed this idea last year, we knew it would be a big, bold concept at a time when immigrants are under attack from the White House. Today, our proposal is taking a step forward. No family should have to choose between applying for citizenship and putting food on the table. But with the costs of the citizenship application rising, and with English classes, attorney’s fees, and more, that’s just what’s happening. We, in America, have put up arbitrary financial barriers to taking the final step towards citizenship. That’s why this is a smart, commonsense, policy-driven strategy that all New Yorkers can help support. Now, the idea is gaining real momentum. I would like to thank Speaker Johnson, Councilmember Dromm, and Councilmember Menchaca for fighting for this initiative. We are a city of immigrants — and we always will be,” Comptroller Stringer said.

To view Comptroller Stringer’s Citizenship fund proposal, please click here.

To view Comptroller Stringer’s economic analysis of how immigrants power the NYC economy, please click here.

To view Comptroller Stringer’s 2018 Immigration Manual, please click here.