USCIS Fee Increase Proposed Rule Could Represent the Latest Step in Reshaping Immigration to United States

Jessica Bolter and Doris Meissner
Date of Publication: 
December, 2019
Source Organization: 
Migration Policy Institute

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has proposed fee increases for a number of common applications, including an 83 percent increase in the fee for naturalization. According to this report by the Migration Policy Institute, these increases will likely have a lasting impact on U.S. immigration policy. Unlike many other federal agencies, USCIS is an agency that relies on filing fee income to cover the cost of its operations. The authors include a table showing the yearly increase of fees for common applications starting in 2004. Of particular concern is the cost of asylum applications and the reduction of fee waivers for several types of applications. The practice of charging individuals for their asylum claims in uncommon - only Australia, Fiji, and Iran currently charge asylum applicants to have their cases adjudicated. Additionally, the article notes that $100 million of USCIS funding was diverted to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. These fee increases and diverting funding away from the agency, essentially moving resources from integration to enforcement, are “the latest in a continuum of administration policies that could significantly reshape the face of legal immigration to the United States… Taken together, these changes would likely reduce the number and shift the profile of those applying for and being granted legal statuses that permit U.S. residence and citizenship.” (Mia Fasano for The Immigrant Learning Center’s Public Education Institute)

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Bolter, J., & Meissner, D. (2019, December). USCIS fee increase proposed rule could represent the latest step in reshaping immigration to United States. Retrieved from