Becoming a U.S. Citizen Is an Expensive Nightmare

Darrell M. West writes about his German wife’s experience becoming an American after they’d been married for seven years. “Terrible,” would be a good summation.

1. It costs thousands of dollars.

Something I didn’t realize when I started the process is that Citizenship and Immigration Services is funded by applicant fees, not federal tax dollars. That means it is perpetually understaffed and underfunded. There were charges for taking your finger-prints. File the wrong form and have to send in a new one? You paid twice.

2. It’s complicated even for our nation’s brightest:

For many immigrants, it is virtually impossible for them to afford the fees, handle the paperwork, and navigate a complex bureaucratic process. Even with a Ph.D. in political science, I was overwhelmed with the complexity of the multiple applications, fees, documentation, interviews, and trips to the immigration office.

3. It’s stupidly archaic.

Virtually every communications involved physically going to the post office and mailing documents back and forth. American immigration is a 19th century process in a 21st century world.

His saga is a like a comedy of errors. Except it’s not funny! And it’s reallllll. And it’s also just How It Is. (via)