NPNA Encourages Eligible Immigrants to Apply for U.S. Citizenship Before Excessive Fee Hikes Go into Effect
WASHINGTON – Following the official proposal today by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services dramatically increasing fees for people applying for U.S. citizenship, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), asylum, and other immigration benefits, the National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) is encouraging the 9 million eligible immigrants to naturalize in time for the 2020 elections, and for others to consult with attorneys on immigration statuses and benefits for which they are eligible.
"If these inhumane fee increases are allowed to move forward, our families, loved ones, DACA holders and those seeking refuge will be priced out of their rightful place in our communities and in America," said Angelica Salas, Executive Director of CHIRLA and Executive Committee member of NPNA."This is a targeted and brazen attack especially on those who are poor and vulnerable. Congress is our only hope to stop this madness and prevent Trump from turning our immigration system into one that only serves the super-elite--like his golf resorts."
“Everyone who is eligible should apply before the Trump administration increases the cost of becoming a U.S. citizen by 83 percent,” said Diego Iñiguez-López, Policy and Campaigns Manager of NPNA, which last year launched the One Million by 2020 campaign to encourage eligible immigrants to become citizens and then register to vote in the presidential elections of 2020. “If you were lacking motivation before, it’s now even more important because this outrageous rule aims to price out low-income and working-class immigrants from U.S. citizenship and so many other immigration benefits.”
Process for eligible immigrants
This proposed rule comes two weeks after NPNA, it’s members, and national allies stood with U.S. Representatives Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), Jesús García (D-Ill.), and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) who acted with foresight to protect access to citizenship and the legal immigration process when they introduced the New Deal for New Americans Act, a bill that would write into law the protections needed to prevent the administration’s discriminatory proposal from going into effect.
The proposed rule will now enter a public comment period that will go until December 16. USCIS then has a legal obligation to consider public comments, before the new rule can take effect.
Some of the most egregious price increases and elements of this rule, which is not effective yet, include:
- Raising the citizenship application fee from $640 to $1,170;
- And raising fees associated with lawful permanent residency by 79 percent, from $1,220 to $2,195;
- Raising the fees for DACA renewals from $495 to $765, giving the administration a potential tool to limit the program should the Supreme Court declare that the administration’s efforts to end DACA are unlawful;
- Creating a $50 fee for affirmative asylum applications and requiring that asylum seekers pay for employment authorization, which has been raised to $490 for all seeking a work permit, while their asylum case is pending;
- Eliminating fee waivers for citizenship, permanent residency, employment authorization for many applicants, and other applications; and
- Transferring $207.6 million from USCIS to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for enforcement purposes, including denaturalization, despite a lack of Congressional authority and allocation of funds.