PUMP Opposes USCIS Proposed Fee Changes that Harm Low-Income Immigrants

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PUMP Opposes USCIS Proposed Fee Changes that Harm Low-Income Immigrants

On Nov. 14th, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a proposed fee schedule that includes both new and increased application fees for adjustment of status, asylum, DACA renewals, and naturalization, as well as the elimination of fee waivers that are granted to low-income immigrants.

Every two years, according to federal law, USCIS is required to review its fee structure and update it appropriately. Yet, the significant fee changes USCIS is proposing would disproportionately impact low-income immigrants, creating unnecessary and insurmountable burdens and barriers for immigrants. PUMP opposes these changes. Read our official comment to USCIS here.

The comment period, originally due to end in mid-December, has been extended to Dec. 30th. Before this rule can be implemented, USCIS must review and respond to every unique comment they receive. We encourage you to learn more below and submit a comment.

What would change under this proposed rule?

  • Adjustment of Status to Lawful Permanent Residency – fee increase
  • Affirmative Asylum – new application fee proposed that would make the U.S. only the fourth country (with Iran, Fiji, and Australia) in the world to levy an application fee on asylum seekers
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) – new fee for renewals
  • Fee Waivers – eliminate fee waivers for many programs with a few exceptions
  • Naturalization – increase fees
  • Transfer of USCIS funds to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) – over $100 million would be transferred from USCIS to ICE to be used for immigration enforcement

Who would these changes affect?

  • 8+ million eligible for naturalization
  • 2+ million cases backlogged at USCIS
  • 800,000+ people filing I-90s/year
  • 660,000+ DACA recipients
  • 1,200 U-1 qualifying relatives/year

The proposed new fee to apply for asylum, in particular, targets the world’s most vulnerable people – those who have been forced to flee their homes and seek refuge. The increased naturalization fee, on the other hand, creates excessive barriers for long-term U.S. residents – people with families, communities, and jobs here – who seek to become full citizens. These fees will likely prevent low-income immigrants from applying for these status changes, and they will serve as an unnecessary burden to those immigrants who manage to pay them.

These fees would create tangible financial barriers for low-income immigrants and send an anti-immigrant message that threatens the inclusive communities we strive to create and foster here in Pittsburgh. PUMP believes that our region and our country are stronger when immigrants and refugees are supported, protected, and welcomed. We believe in everyone having the opportunity to thrive – not in pricing people out of opportunity. These fee changes, like other recent immigration proposals, would make the American dream less accessible to low-income immigrants.

PUMP strongly opposes these proposed fee changes. We urge you to join us in sharing you opposition – submit a comment to USCIS by Dec. 30th at 11:59 PM.