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Immigrants Seeking a Better Life in the U.S. Have to Pay Higher Fees

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WILSON — North Carolina has one of the fastest growing Hispanic populations in the country. Getting here, however, is about to get more expensive.

The government is raising the rates on immigration fees. It is unlikely the extra money will stand in the way of the American dream.

Thousands of immigrants looking for a better life in the United States will have to pay more to stay. The feds have increased immigration fees by more than $100 per person.

The increase is a lot for some families, and it may be too much for others. Either way, expect them to stay.

"People don't know half the story of the way people get over here to basically make a better living, to eat a little bit better," said Wilson resident Norma Rodriquez. "So, it's real hard. It's not going to make it any more difficult. They're going to keep doing it regardless."

The extra money gathered in immigration fees is supposed to help hire more staffers to speed up the process that critics say is too slow, too unforgiving and filled with bureaucratic red tape.

Immigrants who have become citizens say it has never been easy, but it is still better than life back home.

The commitment to a new life here can be seen in church on Sunday mornings.

"Their language is beautiful," said Rev. Joan Vella of St. Timothy's Episcopal Church. "We are able to use their language in the worship service, and it's a wonderful way in which to pray with them."

The prayers, in English or Spanish, are for a better life.

This INS increase is the first in four years. Some costs will jump as much as 50 percent.

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Brian Bowman, Reporter
Brian Bowman, Photographer
John Clark, Web Editor

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