WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) led a group of her colleagues in sending a letter to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) official Samantha Deshommes expressing their strong opposition to a rule change that would drastically increase immigration fees and directly harm vulnerable immigrant populations.
Under the proposed rule change, the filing fee for individuals seeking naturalization would increase 83%, from $640 to $1,170. The renewal fee for DACA recipients would increase by 55%, from $495 to $765. The new rule would also establish a new fee for asylum seekers and increase fees for those seeking Temporary Protected Status. Finally, the rule would limit the availability of fee waivers across the board.
“USCIS’s efforts to limit the availability of fee waivers while increasing fees to, among other things, naturalize, seek asylum, or remain in the only country they know to be home, are a clear and concerted effort to harm low-income individuals, vulnerable populations, and communities of color,” wrote the senators. “Immigration is essential to American society and the American economy. The proposed changes are contrary to what we stand for as a nation.”
The senators continued, “We are a nation of immigrants. For centuries, immigrants have enriched our communities, strengthened our economy, and made our country a better place. We are deeply concerned by the myriad ways in which the proposed rulemaking subverts congressional intent to pursue the administration’s unabashed and poorly-disguised anti-immigrant agenda.”
In addition to Harris, the letter was signed by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN).
The full text of the letter is available here.