FWD.us submitted a public comment on the proposed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Fee Schedule which was published on November 14, 2019, and amended on December 9, 2019. The proposal would establish new fees and significantly increase existing fees for a number of legal immigration programs, including applying for asylum and work authorization, DACA, permanent residency, naturalization, and more.

We understand that statutory and financial realities require USCIS to periodically adjust fees, in order to effectively carry out its mission and deliver satisfactory customer service. But we believe this is possible without making legal immigration prohibitively expensive for the most vulnerable and desperate individuals trying to avail themselves of the process, as well as for American businesses seeking to sponsor valued employees and workers. We are especially concerned with the unfair and unnecessary barriers this proposal creates for naturalization and the extraordinary burdens it places on vulnerable applicants like asylum-seekers and DACA-recipients.

To that end, we respectfully filed a public comment to oppose the NPRM and to request that USCIS reduce the fee increases for the immigration programs that traditionally have had fees to more reasonable and justified levels, to eliminate the provisions that would instate new fees for programs that have previously never been subjected to fees (i.e. asylum and the ancillary employment authorization document (EAD) for asylum seekers and a new DACA filing fee), to restore fee waivers for immigration programs that the NPRM proposes to eliminate; and to formally abandon efforts to transfer collected fees to ICE without Congressional approval.