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Seattle, immigrant rights groups sue Trump administration over new citizenship barriers


To become a naturalized citizen in the United States, you have to pay a $725 fee. The fee can be waived. But a new rule will make getting the waiver more difficult.

Applicants won't be able to simply show they're receiving federal assistance through a program. They'll have to jump through a lot more hoops. The City of Seattle and immigrant rights groups are suing the Trump administration over the change.

One of the most common and easiest ways to get a waiver is by showing you're on a federal program, such as Medicaid, which only goes to people with low incomes.

But Meghan Kelly-Stallings with Seattle's Office of Immigrant and Refugee Affairs says, under the new rule set to take effect next month, people will have to collect multiple types of documents.

"And now the process of demonstrating someone's eligibility for a fee waiver is extremely complex, time consuming and convoluted," Kelly-Stallings said.

The City of Seattle argues in its lawsuit that making the waiver hard to get will keep people who meet all of the citizenship requirements from getting naturalized. The city is seeking an injunction to prevent the rule from taking effect.

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.