Judge temporarily blocked Trump’s plan to increase immigration fees

Judge temporarily blocked Trump's plan to increase immigration fees

On Tuesday, a federal judge temporarily blocked the Trump administration's plan to increase fees for immigrants wishing to become US citizens and other asylum seekers. The new rules were to set a $ 50 levy for asylum seekers and raise prices for immigrants applying for U.S. citizenship from $ 640 to over $ 1,170.

US District Judge Jeffrey White (Northern California), appointed by President George W. Bush, found that such a policy harms low-income immigrants and violates parts of the Administrative Procedure Act. He approved a request by the Immigration Group to suspend the changes to the fee pending a final decision.

USCIS said it was reviewing the decision without providing any further comments.

Immigration experts noted that the decision could have both immediate and long-term consequences.

Sarah Pearce, an analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, said the ruling could force USCIS to go for layoffs, and «if that happens, it will end almost all permanent and temporary immigration procedures.»

USCIS officials say the increased application fees are necessary to get the money back and keep the department running.

The reason for the lack of funding in the agency is believed to be a sharp decline in immigration applications due to the pandemic. Human rights activists argue that Trump's restrictive policies are to blame.