WASHINGTON – The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) and its coalition of 37 immigrant and refugee rights groups strongly denounce the Trump administration’s proposed fee hikes that seek to limit access to citizenship, asylum, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and other immigration benefits to those who are eligible.
This announcement comes one week after NPNA, it’s members, and national allies stood with U.S. Representatives Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), Jesús García (D-Ill.), and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) who acted with foresight to protect access to citizenship and the legal immigration process when they introduced the New Deal for New Americans Act. The bill would write into law the protections needed to prevent the administration’s fee gouging attempts and other discriminatory proposals from going into effect.
The proposed rule would increase the U.S. citizenship application fee by 83 percent, changing it from $640 to $1,170. It would also increase the fee for DACA applications from $495 to $765, giving Trump a tool to prevent DREAMers from applying, if the U.S. Supreme Court allows the program to continue.
Additionally, it would add a $50 fee for certain asylum applications. If implemented, the fees would make the U.S. just the fourth country in the world to charge those seeking asylum.
“Everyday, attorneys and community navigators at CASA and other NPNA member organizations assist low-income and working-class immigrants to apply for asylum, citizenship, and other immigration benefits,” said George Escobar, chief of programs and services for NPNA member, CASA.“This proposal undermines this vital work and denies equal opportunity to all immigrants, regardless of wealth or class. We call on Congress to put a stop to this and pass the New Deal for New Americans Act.”
The proposal would take over $200 million that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) collects from application fees and transfer it to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for enforcement purposes.
“The proposed regulation is a shameful policy that would siphon off funds from hard-working new Americans, who have paid their application fees and instead the administration would use it toward policies that divide families,” said Nicole Melaku, executive director of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition.
“USCIS is placing its mismanagement on the backs of immigrants who are paying and who are seeking the opportunity to become further tied to and civically engaged in this nation, said Basma Alawee, refugee organizer of the Florida Immigrant Coalition.“Instead of turning our backs, we should invest in immigrants and refugees.”
“Instead of pricing out immigrants and refugees, as an alternative to what has been blocked by federal courts, we need an aspirational and visionary way forward that unites us,” said Alain Nahimana, executive director of the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center. “We should be expanding access to citizenship and refuge, increasing due process protections, and developing our shared economic prosperity through workforce and English-language learning programs.”