In a recent news article, a source who is reportedly close to the White House is stating that the Trump administration is considering charging some immigrants a fee in order to apply for asylum in the U.S. More specifically, those immigrants already living in the U.S. would have to pay a $50 fee to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in order to seek asylum. The fee, however, would not be applicable for immigrants who present themselves at a port of entry and attempt to enter the country based on a well-founded fear of persecution in their home countries.
Apparently, the current proposal contains no provisions for waiving the asylum fee for those individuals who are unable to pay the fee. Funding for USCIS is largely made up of immigrations fees, and there is a mandate in place for USCIS to review its fees, revenues, and costs each year. With the worsening backlog of asylum cases, it is possible that USCIS could use the fees to fund more personnel to process applications. Currently, the wait time for an asylum interview is between two and five years.
Traditionally, immigrants seeking humanitarian relief from the U.S. are not required to pay a fee, as is the case in the vast majority of other countries.
This proposal is only one in a constant slew of new policies and proposals by the Trump administration that are designed to crack down on immigration in general, which have often met with legal challenges. This proposal joins recent attempts to make any immigrants who cross the border between ports of entry ineligible for asylum, as well as threats to close the southern U.S.-Mexico border altogether due to alleged national security concerns. Many of these proposals have arisen from the so-called caravan of individuals fleeing violence in Central America and traveling to the U.S. in hopes of seeking asylum.
Peek & Toland dedicates a large part of its practice to helping both individuals and businesses resolve their immigration-related issues. Immigration law is a complex, ever-changing area of the law that necessitates legal advice from experienced immigration lawyers who keep up-to-date with all relevant changes in law and policy. We will work with you to achieve the most positive outcome possible in your situation. Call our office today and set up a consultation with our skilled immigration attorneys today.