Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Fees for Citizenship, Residency to Increase

Beginning July 30, immigrants applying for green cards will pay more than three times as much as they do now, under a plan unveiled by the Bush administration.

Applications for citizenship and temporary work permits will cost almost twice as much as they do now.

The prices include slight changes from the fee plan announced Jan. 31 by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Emilio Gonzalez.

· The application fee for citizenship will rise from $330 to $675.

· The fee to apply for legal permanent residency will rise from $325 to $1,010 for most applicants. Those ages 79 and older or 14 and younger would pay less.

· The cost of work permits will rise from $180 to $340.

Most of the fees include the cost of fingerprints, which previously added a $70 charge.

The agency will continue to waive fees for military members applying for naturalization.

The complete fee structure can be seen at http://www.uscis.gov.

U.S. Opposes Testing All Cattle for Mad Cow

The Bush administration said yesterday that it will fight to keep meatpackers from testing all their animals for mad cow disease.

The Agriculture Department tests fewer than 1 percent of slaughtered cows for the disease, which can be fatal to humans who eat tainted beef. But Kansas-based Creekstone Farms Premium Beef wants to test all of its cows.

Larger meat companies feared that move because, if Creekstone tested its meat and advertised it as safe, they might have to perform the expensive test, too. The Agriculture Department argued that widespread testing could lead to a false positive that would harm the meat industry.

A federal judge ruled in March that such tests must be allowed. U.S. District Judge James Robertson noted that Creekstone sought to use the same test that the government relies on and said the government did not have the authority to restrict it.

The ruling was to take effect this Friday, but the Agriculture Department said yesterday that it would appeal -- effectively delaying the testing while the court challenge continues.

-- From News Services

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