Public Comment Period Closes TODAY for Proposed USCIS Fee Increases, Other Changes
Immigrants Could Pay 83 Percent More Next Year to Apply for Citizenship
WASHINGTON – Today, December 30th, is the last day for public comments regarding a proposed rule change at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) that could increase fees for immigrants pursuing citizenship and other legal immigration pathways. The changes could also allow for the transfer of funds gained through application fees to go toward immigration enforcement efforts.
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The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA), a coalition of the country’s 37 largest regional immigrant and refugee rights organizations in 35 states, 80 Congressional members, and 50 Mayors and County Executives vehemently opposed the changes in a letter to the head of USCIS earlier this month.
“It's crucial for USCIS to withdraw their recently proposed regulation. Increasing fees for citizenship and other immigration benefits is discriminatory, punitive and unfair towards low-income and working-class immigrants. We urge USCIS to rescind this proposal, or, alternatively, to give more time for the public to comment on this issue,” said Susan Collins, policy and advocacy director at NPNA. “The regulation would have an extensive negative impact on the lives of immigrants, with particularly harsh consequences for the most vulnerable families living in poverty. ”
If allowed to go into effect, the USCIS proposal would:
- Increase the citizenship application fee by 83 percent, from $640 to $1,170
- And increase fees associated with a lawful permanent residency by 79 percent, from $1,220 to $2,195
- Increase the cost of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewals, from $495 to $765;
- Charge a fee for asylum for the first time in our country’s history; charging $50 for affirmative asylum applications and requiring asylum seekers to pay for a work permit while their application is pending
- Eliminate most fee waivers
- Transfer funds from USCIS to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for enforcement purposes.
NPNA has been working with allies, Congressional offices, and cities to build opposition to the proposed rule. Over 24,970 comments from the public have been sent, with the majority of them opposing the proposal to increase fees for citizenship, permanent residency, DACA, and asylum; eliminate most fee waivers, and transfer over $112 million from USCIS to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for enforcement purposes.
An alternative permanent solution, the New Deal for New Americans Act, seeks to honor our nation’s values and strengthen the process to U.S. citizenship, as opposed to making immigrant lives even more difficult. This alternative would increase access to citizenship, protect fee waivers, and invest in immigrants and refugees. NPNA urges USCIS to reconsider its current approach.
You may submit comments, identified by DHS Docket No. USCIS-2019-0010, by going to:
- Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow this site's instructions for submitting comments.