Photo by Elias Castillo
Trump Administration Announces Colossal Cost Increase for most Immigration processes, including US Citizenship Applicants, and Instates Asylum Fees.
Though the DACA battle was a loss for Trump, his war wages on against immigrants seeking refuge in the US. On Friday, the Trump administration made an announcement that they will be increasing some of the most common immigration procedures come October 2nd – most notably, the cost of US citizenship for Naturalization.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released a final rule in the Federal Register, detailing the cost for many immigration and naturalization applicants. At an 81% increase, the cost for citizenship will rise from its original $640 fee to a jaw-dropping $1,160 for online applications and $1,170 for paper filings.
Fees also expected to go up will be petitions for employment authorization (Form I-765), increasing by 34% to $550, as well as removing conditions on permanent residence through marriage (Form I-751), swelling from $595 to a staggering $760. Other forms being hit will include I-131A (Application for Travel Document), I-881 (Application for Suspension of Deportation), I-539 (Application to Extend/Change Non-Immigrant Status), I-929 (Petition for Qualifying Family Member of a U-1 Nonimmigrant), and N-470 (Application to Preserve Residence for Naturalization Purposes).
To make matters even bleaker, the Trump administration also announced that asylum applicants will be slapped with a never-before charge of $50, making the US one out of the only four countries in the world to charge a fee for humanitarian protection.
While the irrefutable question on everyone’s minds has been why, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) explained the markups were necessary due to the increase in operating costs and decrease in its income to cover expenses. And within the USCIS, the agency has been hit with a “crippling budget shortfall,” pleading Congress for $1.2 billion emergency funding on account of the steady plummeting of green card and visa applications, The Miami Herald reports.
While the president claims that his unabated efforts towards the immigration system have been to bring a healthy and legal flow of newcomers to our shores, some argue that his new reforms are meant to weed out the low-income foreign nationals. Executive Director of National Partnership for New Americans Nicole Melaku stated in a press release that this regulation “will increase fees across the board and eliminate most fee waivers effectively putting a wealth test on immigration and refugee communities who want to apply.”