A proposed rule would impose drastic increases on those who seek to come to the United States.
The Trump administration is drastically increasing the cost to immigrate to the United States, including proposing that people seeking asylum be forced to pay a fee — something only three other countries do. It's all part of the administration's plan to make immigration as difficult as possible, particularly for the poor.
A proposed rule has fee increases across the board. A regular application for citizenship would leap to $1,170 from $725. Dreamers — the hundreds of thousands of young people brought here as children who are participants in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — would see an increase in their renewal fees, from $495 to $765. DACA renewals only last two years, so this is a fee people will pay again and again unless the Supreme Court terminates DACA, which is what the Trump administration has been pushing for.
Perhaps worst of all, the government proposes to charge asylum-seekers $50 for their application and $490 for work permits. If that proposal goes through, it will make the United States one of just four countries that charge people to apply for asylum. Only Iran, Fiji, and Australia currently charge.
Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, told the New York Times that the increases are needed to help an "overextended" immigration system that is running a deficit of over $1 billion per year. As a point of comparison, the Trump tax cuts removed as much as $83 billion in federal revenue in just 2018 alone. Also, given that the United States took exactly zero refugees in October and set the yearly cap for refugees at only 18,000, it doesn't seem that charging them will really take the edge off an overburdened system.
Sadly, this has been coming for a while. The Trump team floated the idea of charging asylum-seekers late last year and released further details in April of this year, at the same time Trump made the absurd demand that immigration cases be concluded within 180 days. Add this to Trump's plan for a "merit-based" system that favors wealthy, well-connected immigrants and the administration's "public charge" scheme that would block immigrants who might need things like Medicaid, and it's a comprehensive way to ensure that poor people don't come to the United States, which is basically Trump's American Dream.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.