A few weeks ago, our firm reported that the USCIS was planning on increasing fees for a number of crucial immigration services, which would have made immigration less affordable for thousands and thousands of people. Some of the services slated for doubled or tripled fee increases included applying for asylum or applying for citizenship. Those fee increases were scheduled to take effect today, October 2.
Specific changes made by the fee rule would have included:
- Limited fee exemptions to specific groups
- Added new fees for immigration applications
- Increased fees for premium processing time limits
- Limited the number of beneficiaries for certain applications
- Increased fees for adjustment of status
- Added the cost of biometrics to fees instead of creating a separate fee
Thankfully, a federal court in California ruled that the Department of Homeland Security would not be able to increase fees for immigration benefits. The court said that the DHS didn’t have the authority to issue the Fee Rule and that the government pushed forward with a fee increase without considering the hardship it would present to immigrants and their advocates.
Speaking about the court’s decision, the AILA said, “AILA applauds the Court’s expeditious order to set aside USCIS’s unprecedented attempt to dramatically raise fees prior to November’s Presidential Election…AILA is proud to join our litigation partners at Sidley Austin LLP in this important fight, standing with immigrants, their families, and the communities across America they call home.”