June 8, 2007

New USCIS Fee Schedule Announced, Substantial Overall Fee Increases

Despite large public response, immigrant families will still face cost prohibitive application fees

WASHINGTON, DC – The United States Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced its final fee schedule for immigration benefit applications and petitions, with some troubling changes that will have a direct impact on many Hispanic families.

USCIS received a very large public response to its initial fee increase proposal—3900 public comments overall, including a letter from the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC). The CHC letter expressed concern that the proposed fee increases would put an unrealistic burden on legal immigrants looking to play by the rules and hoping for a better life in the US. Instead, the CHC encouraged USCIS to engage Congress to cooperatively work to identify more appropriate methods for covering the costs.

As announced, while certain application fees are reduced from USCIS’ initial proposal, these reductions are more than offset by other substantial fee increases. Unfortunately, despite the opposition to large fee increases voiced by the CHC and others, the overall result is unchanged from USCIS’ initial proposal—substantial fee increases for immigrants and their families.

“The CHC is very concerned that USCIS fee changes will put the American dream out of reach for many who want to come here, contribute to our nation, and provide for their families,” said Congressman Joe Baca, Chair of the CHC. “Many Hispanic families will be hurt by this decision, and it is unfortunate that USCIS did not elect to work with Congress to provide a more workable, just solution.”

“These fees are a glaring example of the government imposing a higher price on its customers, while continuing to offer inefficient services,” said Gutierrez, Chair of CHC Immigration Task Force. “The new fee structure will price good people out of the citizenship process. The Administration should stop trying to fix its failures, and its inefficiencies, on the backs of low-income working families.”

The rule change on the fees is expected to be printed in tomorrow’s Federal Register with the new fee structure scheduled to go into effect July 30, 2007. More information on the fee structure is posted at www.uscis.gov.

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