The number of legal immigrants applying for citizenship rose this year nationally. The increase comes despite sharply higher application fees and the economic downturn, which have combined to make it more difficult for immigrants to afford to apply for citizenship. The increase also follows a year in which applications fell. Although applications rose 11 percent in fiscal 2009, their number remains among the lowest in several years. Officials say applications could fall again if fees are increased next year to help cover budget shortfalls.