Family Immigration Feed

#USCIS proposes fee increase

I wrote a comment objecting to the increase in USCIS fees:

I respectfully submit this comment opposing the proposed fee rule, DHS Docket No. USCIS-2021-0010.

Many of my clients struggle to save for filing fees at the present amount. Many immigrants have delayed making application for benefits for years because of the cost of the filing fees. Although fee waivers are available for some applications, applicants are also required to prove they will not be a public charge.

For example, currently a USC filing a petition for her spouse who then adjusts status, with an I-765 and I-131 is $1,760. A concurrent application will cost $2,990 (assuming the I-130 must be filed on paper to file concurrently). A USC who reaches age 21 whose parents are eligible to adjust status currently must pay filing fees of $1,760 for each parent (total $3,520). The increase to a total of $7,280 for both parents will cause many people to be unable to file, particularly where parents are older and will have more difficulty in proving they will not be a public charge.

The current length of adjudicating applications is also a heavy burden to immigrants. The delay in issuing lawful permanent residence also delays the date when the immigrant can apply to naturalize. The delay in removing the conditions from permanent residence or in issuing employment authorizations are unconscionable.

Although this might support DHS's argument for increased fees, there is no evidence to support the fact that higher fees will reduce the egregious processing times currently experienced by applicants. The costs of any fee increase should be applied to making adjudications more accessible and efficient, not to pay for enforcement or investigations, and should take into consideration the burden upon family unity.

I recognize that USCIS requires sufficient funding to adjudicate the millions of benefit requests it receives each year and, while its costs have increased, it has not adjusted its application and petition fees in approximately six years. We also acknowledge that USCIS recently exited a particularly difficult period during which Executive Branch policy initiatives impaired efficiency and exacerbated, to crisis levels, the processing backlogs with which the agency is still struggling. To make the agency’s situation even more challenging, the Covid pandemic profoundly affected its operations. Nevertheless, I believe the NPRM’s proposed fees are far beyond the amount reasonably necessary for USCIS to maintain efficient processing of newly filed cases while addressing its backlog.

Sincerely, Ms. Susan I. Nelson


Twitter Updates

    follow me on Twitter

    Blogs I Follow

    • Texas Criminal Law
      Waco criminal lawyer, Walter M. Reaves, Jr., blogs on criminal law (sometimes overlapping with immigration law).
    Blog powered by Typepad