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President Obama Addresses Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Legal or Just Illegal?


This morning, President Obama will deliver remarks on the need to fix America’s broken immigration system. Undoubtedly, millions of illegal aliens, and those people who are thinking about jumping the border will be listening intently to make plans. But the largely ignored legal immigrants will also be listening in hopes for legal immigration reform. I am referring to the legal immigrants who followed America’s laws, and who have been stuck in the broken, backlogged, and dysfunctional United States Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) for years.


I am also referring to the serious plight of legal immigrants who contributed to America’s national security, and who are facing deportation which for some of them means fighting for their life, like the author of the Son of Hamas, Mosab Hassan Yousef.

Will President Obama address this group or just the millions of illegals with a slap on the wrist and a fine?

Time will tell but in the meantime, let’s look at legal immigration to compare with whatever President Obama will propose tomorrow.

Following are some of the filing fees and applications required to legally immigrate.

First, legal immigration requires several steps. For instance, whether an immigrant is applying for permanent residence (Green Card) through employment-based, marriage or a relative petition, they must file and pay for the I-485 and I-485A –Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status, and the Supplement A to Form I-485, Adjustment of Status Under Section 245(i) respectively, in addition to earlier fees required during the legal immigration process. The 485s are essentially the background checks before being granted the green card.

According to the latest USCIS fee schedule:


• If under the age of 14 years and filing with the I-485 application of at least one parent. Cost $600.00.

• If under the age of 14 years NOT filing with the I-485 application of at least one parent. Cost $930.00

• All others: Cost $930.00

• An additional biometric services fee is required… costs on average $80.00


• If you are under the age of 17 years, or an unmarried son or daughter of a legalized alien and under the age of 21 years, or the spouse of a legalized alien under the Family Unity Program, there is no fee.

• If you are anybody else. Cost $1000.00

In addition to the cost of the I-485’s, below are examples of earlier mandatory fees and filings in the legal immigration process.

To file the I-129, the Petition for a Nonimmigrant worker, “for employers to petition for an alien to come to the United States temporarily to perform services or labor, or to receive training, as an H-1B, H-1C, H-2A, H-2B, H-3, L-1, O-1, O-2, P-1, P-1S, P-2, P-2S, P-3, P-3S, Q-1 or R-1 nonimmigrant worker” or to “request an extension of stay or change of status for an alien as an E-1, E-2, or TN nonimmigrant.” Cost $320.00

The I-129 petition form notes: “Certain employers filing H1-B or L-1 petitions must submit supplemental fees of $750.00 or $1,500.00 or a fraud prevention fee of $500.00.”

The I-129 should not be confused with the I-140, the Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker which costs $475.00, or the I-129F, the Petition for Alien Fiancé, costing $455.00. Then there is the I-687, the Application for Status as a Temporary, costing $710.00, not to be confused with the I-698, the Application to Adjust Status from Temporary to Permanent Resident (Under Section 245A of the INA) which costs $1,370.00 and so on. It is worth noting the fees change periodically.

Welcome to legal immigration in America, where following the laws means arcane bureaucracy where you can be stuck in a 20-year backlog (as Senator McCain noted during his failed Presidential bid), all the while hoping to dodge the mindboggling incompetence at the USCIS, as previously reported here:

USCIS document production and mailing processes have raised concerns, as there is no mechanism by which to track delivery of USCIS documents to ensure receipt by the proper recipient. Last year, the Ombudsman highlighted some of the issues that may arise from delivery problems, including lost or stolen documents and unnecessary delays…

As the federal government continues to expand without meaningful internal reform, American’s will soon learn, what legal immigrants have known for years, how awful life can be at the mercy of a broken federal agency that broke under both Republican and Democrat rule.

So the big question for the President is: will the Administration reward the illegals or will the Administration finally take their job seriously, clean up the mess created by Washington, protect the borders and run a competent immigration agency?

Just in: Mosab Hassan Yousef has been granted asylum.

Cross-posted at

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