The Trump administration has proposed hiking fees for asylum seekers and for some Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals applicants.
If enacted, the Department of Homeland Security proposal would increase the cost to apply for citizenship, coming in the wake of the administration’s proposed policy to require new immigrants to demonstrate they have health care or are able to afford it. A federal judge earlier this month blocked that requirement.
Under the planned U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services fee schedule, DACA recipients would pay an additional $275 every two years to renew their legal permits, in addition to the $495 required for filing, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Asylum seekers would pay a $50 application fee for the first time under the proposal — making the United States "one of the few countries in the world to attach a fee to humanitarian protections,” the Journal reported.
According to a UCIS spokesperson, the new $50 fee is for affirmative actions only, and "represents a fraction of what it actually costs the government."
The proposed rule contains a cost analysis showing that it costs UCIS $366 in adjudication costs alone to process each application, and a grand total of $1,800 including overhead, the spokesperson said.
And those applying to become U.S. citizens would pay $1,170 to apply, instead of $640 — an 83% price increase.
The proposal says the asylum application fee and price increase aim to mitigate fee hikes of other immigration benefits.
“The adjudication of immigration applications and petitions requires in-depth screening, incurring costs that must be covered by the agency, and this proposal accounts for our operational needs and better aligns our fee schedule with the costs of processing each request,” acting director of USCIS Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement.
The proposed rule will be posted in the Federal Register and open to public comment Thursday, when its effective date will be made public.
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