The DOJ is proposing to increase the cost for immigrants to stay in the country by an exorbitant amount. It's all part of the cruelty of this administration.
It seems like there's almost no way in which this administration won't try to harm immigrants who come here seeking a better life. The latest completely unnecessary effort is a proposed massive increase in the cost for immigrants to appeal deportation orders or ask for reconsideration or reopening of their immigration case.
Both of these things are perfectly legal to do. Immigrants have the right to contest deportation orders and to ask the courts to reconsider their cases. It currently costs $110 to do either of those things. According to a memo obtained by Buzzfeed, the price will soon be $975 to appeal a ruling and $895 to request a reconsideration or a reopening.
It's tough to believe that the cost of these hearings is nearly tenfold the current price. When Buzzfeed asked the Executive Office for Immigration Review in the Justice Department about the price increase, the EOIR refused to comment, calling it "media speculation about regulations." However, they went on to justify a cost increase, complaining that EOIR fees "have remained the same since 1986—despite increases in fees across many other areas of the federal government over the same period."
Buzzfeed interviewed Rebecca Jamil, a former immigration judge, who said that this is a "substantial increase of fees that’s beyond the reach of people." Moreover, many people whose cases are currently proceeding through the courts are forced to wait in Mexico, rather than here. Jamil noted those people, in particular, may have a difficult time obtaining funds while essentially stranded in Mexico.
This goes along with several other cruelty-for-cruelty's-sake actions taken by this administration. It recently cut off access to lifesaving medical care for immigrants and is planning to deport those people instead. The administration is also making it much harder for immigrants who might need to use federal assistance, such as Medicaid, to get green cards — even if those immigrants are veterans who served our country.
Trump's policies at the border are going to continue to get worse and worse. If there's an angle to make the lives of immigrants and asylum-seekers worse, they're going to find it. Raising costs on appeals immigrants have every right to pursue is just the latest, but it won't be the last.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.