The United States Citizenship & Immigration Services is a fee-funded agency, which means it derives the vast majority of its budget from its customer base. That’s why the recent government shutdowns didn’t affect the immigration agency, as it doesn’t rely on appropriations for its day-to-day operation. Our New Jersey immigration firm has already written about the USCIS’ shift away from a customer service agency to a law enforcement partner (making it redundant with Border Patrol and ICE). Now, the USCIS is creating new fees and raising existing ones , which may adversely harm large sections of the immigrant population.
Two fee increases of note for the agency are its DACA renewal fee and its citizenship application fee. DACA renewal may jump from $495 to $765, a 54% increase. Citizenship renewal may jump from $640 to $1170, an 83% increase. Additionally, applying for asylum will now cost $50.
An Additional Move Away from the USCIS Mission
In August, the former director of USCIS wrote an op-ed for The Washington Post that accused the current administration of changing the USCIS’ original mission. In a recent edit to the agency’s mission statement, the White House removed a reference that referred to migrants as “customers” and also erased a reference regarding “America’s promise.” The former director cited these changes as indicative of a larger cultural shift within the agency as it takes an adversarial stance toward the migrants it was created to serve.
With an 83% increase in the cost of citizenship, a 54% increase in the cost of DACA renewal, and a higher fee for requesting asylum, these fee increases may also be indicative of the kind of immigrants the USCIS wants to serve: those with means or access to financial support. If you’re unsure how the new fee proposal affects your current situation, speak with our New Jersey immigration attorney today.
Call (800) 909-8129 to speak with an immigration attorney in New Jersey. Our team is standing by the help. Se Habla Espanol.