BROOKLYN, NY — Senator Zellnor Y. Myrie submitted comments opposing the Trump Administration’s proposed fee increases for immigration services at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), calling the increases the Trump Administration’s latest attack on immigrant communities.
“The Administration’s proposed actions will do direct harm to immigrant communities and are only the latest in a record of harmful and discriminatory immigration policies," said Senator Myrie in written comments to USCIS. "A barrier to naturalization prevents legal permanent residents from becoming citizens and greatly contributing to their communities and society as a whole. An opportunity to become a citizen allows greater economic stability through expanded professional opportunities but these proposals penalize our immigrant neighbors, especially those who come from low-income households and struggle to make ends meet."
Senator Myrie’s district, which spans nine neighorhoods in Central Brooklyn, is a heavily immigrant community, with approximately 43 percent of constituents being born abroad. Almost 65,000 of constituents are eligible to become naturalized citizens, according to census data.
The USCIS proposal, USCIS-2019-0010-0001, would increase the fee to file an application for a Certificate of Citizenship from $640 to $1,170, an 83 percent increase. DACA application renewal fees would increase from $495 to $765, an increase of 55 percent.
The proposal also includes the elimination of fee waivers for most forms of citizenship applications, despite the fact that one third of applicants seek fee waivers. While the proposal removes fee waivers, it also adds new fees: asylum seekers would now have to pay a $50 fee for their applications.
Under the proposal, USCIS would transfer $200 million in revenues from immigration services fees to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Historically, the U.S. Congress has instructed the USCIS to maintain the affordability of immigration service fees and has forbidden the agency from using fee revenues to fund ICE.
Senator Myrie’s full comments can be found in the PDF here.
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