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The High Price of Amnesty Filing Fees

May 01, 1988

Amnesty deadlines are near, and our country is screaming how surprised we are about the poor response from the Mexican people coming forward. How little our public knows!

Each night I listen to the news and become outraged. No one seems to realize that the immigration department requires each applicant to pay $185 in filing fees (per person) plus attorney costs.

Are you aware that in our state anyone can file a waiver to file for a divorce based on inability to pay and file free? Or a traffic citation?

Yet the Mexicans who make up probably 90% of our labor force are not given any financial assistance on this.

The average laborer works for about $4 per hour. A $185 filing fee is more than one full week's wages! In reference to attorney fees, most will allow for family discounts. In most situations, though, the applicant will file for himself only without his family based on the filing fees.

These are the poor people coming from a poor country. They have spent their time in hiding long enough. And we, in a free country, seem to be saying: "Come here, but it will cost you."

I challenge the Immigration and Naturalization Service to be sincere in its direction. If the INS really wants to help these people (deadlines or extensions won't help), a price reduction or possibly a waiver of filing fees will result in what was expected in the first place--what our county is founded upon--freedom for all. Not just those who can afford it.

MARGIE A. ROBERTS

Mission Viejo

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