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'I feel better here': Mexican migrant's dream of American citizenship came true, but at a high cost

Aside from the time and money it took to live the American Dream, Maria Eulalia Rodriguez said her business is something she has always wanted for herself.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services proposed a rule that would increase the majority of employment-based applications, like work visas, Green Cards and many more. 

Some application prices could be bumped up three times the cost of what it is now. 

"This is not normal. It's not something that happens everyday. Some of the fee increases are as much as double to triple the fees as they currently exist," said local political analyst Bill Chriss. 

A green card application is currently about $1,200, but that soon could increase to almost $3,000 -- more than double. 

A Green Card for a family member is about $535 -- the proposal will up that to $820. Chriss said the rule is simply to generate more money. 

"Officials in the federal government are preparing for possible recession. If a recession happens then there will be less demand for labor and more unemployment," he said. 

Maria Eulalia Rodriguez is the owner of The Ultimate Club off of Staples Street. Rodriguez is from Mexico, and at the time, did not have her residency to live in the United States. Something she said made being a business owner much more difficult. 

"I didn't have a business, I didn't have an establishment or anything because I didn't have my residency. I needed permission and comply with the rules here. I needed a license too," she said. 

It took two years from when Rodriguez started the application process to when she was able to move to the U.S. and start her business -- which costed a pretty penny. 

"Oh yes. I paid. To start off, it was about $1,500 and a part from that, the lawyers too. At the end, it was $3,000," she said. 

Aside from the time and money it took to live the American Dream, her business is something she has always wanted for herself. 

"Part of it is, I feel better here," she said. "The nation is great, you can make a better life, you can do other things independently like me, I have my own business in this country."

Chriss said that the changes are likely going to happen, and people should start preparing sooner than later. 

"If there's anybody out there who's thinking about applying for a Green Card, thinking about applying for a visa, thinking about, as an employer taking steps with respect to legal immigrant labor, you'd be well advised to do it now," he said. 

Once those changes take place, Chriss said the likelihood of them decreasing is very unlikely. 

"When the federal government increases the charge for something, or the state government, or the local government increases fees or charges for something, they almost never go back down," he said. 

The comment period is taking place until March 6 of this year. 

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