The plan to increase certain immigration fees is another one of USCIS’ schemes to gradually end immigration in the United States. USCIS planned to execute its final fee rule (85 Fed. Reg. 46,788) on October 2, 2020, to amend immigration fees, forms, and rules – Obviously not with the best interest of immigrants at heart. However, on September 29, 2020, the court ordered a preliminary injunction on USCIS’s final rule on immigration fees.
It’s no longer news that U.S. Immigration is a formidable task every other day. But these laws would’ve made the process even tougher. Family separation, DACA revocation, enhancing appellate rubber stamping, the disappearance of grace periods between form upgrades, is the order of the day. As if those weren’t enough already, USCIS then proposed to amend immigration fees, forms, and rules?
6 organizations providing immigration benefits for low-income applicants didn’t take it lying down. The six organizations are:
- Immigrant Legal Resource Centre (ILRC)
- East Bay Sanctuary Covenant (EBSC)
- the Coalition for Human Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)
- the Catholic Legal Immigrant Network Inc. (CLINIC)
- Immigration Referral Committee (IRC)
- One America, Asian Counseling and Referral Service (ACRS)
- The Illinois Coalition for Immigrants and Refugee Rights (ICIRR).
These organizations stood against the proposal and filed a case against USICS in court. A case where they beat the odds and managed to get a preliminary injunction placed on USCIS final fee rule.
Preliminary Injunction Of USCIS Final Fee Rule
USCIS has been faced with a severe budget deficit for months now. It needed more funds to recover the full operating costs associated with administering U.S. immigration. Hence, the need to amend immigration fees and laws in the Final Fee Rule, thus:
- USCIS proposed to increase immigration fees by an average of 20%.
- New immigrants’ fees were added, claiming it was for certain immigration benefits requests. USCIS then established multiple fees for non-immigrant worker petitions, limited the number of beneficiaries for certain forms, and eliminated the ability to seek a waiver for some fees.
- The DHS issued a rule restricting Asylum applications, interviews, and employment authorization. The waiting days were increased from 180 days to 365 days.
- Immigrants seeking asylum would also be required to pay a $550.00 fee for Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
- The DHS increased fees for naturalization from $640 to $1,170 and eliminated the option to obtain exemptions. Although the DHS reduced the fee for renewing the Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) status, it separated the fees for the three applications associated with LPR status: The application for permanent residency, the application for an EAD, and application for travel documents.
- Eligibility requirements for the fee waiver policy were also adjusted. The final rule stated that the only criterion for eligibility would be if the immigrant’s household income is at least 125% of HHS poverty guidelines.
All of these policies would have left immigrants abandoning their designs for U.S. immigration. And for what? USCIS planned to get more money from immigrants because it has a budget shortfall. The budget shortfall that it brought upon itself, with the Trump administration’s partnership.
Luckily, the court ordered a preliminary injunction on the final USCIS fee rule. This is an action that we applaud here at The HMA Law Firm.
This Won’t Be The End. File Now!
Things are changing in U.S. immigration, and it’s not for the better. It’s for the worse.
Of course, it’s great that the court ordered a preliminary injunction on USCIS’s final fee rule. But it won’t be the end of it.
We’ve been down this road before with the Furloughs earlier this year. The fact remains that USCIS is severely lacking in funds. And because of this, it’s only a matter of time before it suspends operations.
So, you shouldn’t use this opportunity to relax. No! You can rest all you want when it’s all over. But not yet. What you need to do now is file your applications now.
We give this advice multiple times a day: File for what you can, as quickly as you can, while you still can.
Who knows what will happen tomorrow or the day after that? Cover your bases and contact The HMA Law Firm today! Whatever immigration issues you have, we will help you resolve them completely, and timely. Time is of the essence. Consult our attorneys today!