The Trump administration announced Friday that it is proposing to increase fees on immigrants filing applications in the U.S., including a controversial $50 fee on asylum applications that quickly drew Democratic opposition.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a proposed rule that would adjust fees in what it says is a move to meet operational needs. It says the average increase is 21 percent. If left at their current level, USCIS would be underfunded by $1.3 billion a year, the agency said.

Among the most controversial fees would be a $50 fee on affirmative asylum applications. These are asylum claims made from within the U.S., and therefore would not apply to people arriving across the U.S.-Mexico border or other ports of entry.

The rule would also slap a $275 fee for the two-year renewal of recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) — the Obama-era policy that shielded some illegal immigrants who entered the U.S. as minors from deportation. Separately, green card holders applying to become citizens would be charged $1,170 for filing the form, rather than $640.

“USCIS is required to examine incoming and outgoing expenditures, just like a business, and make adjustments based on that analysis. This proposed adjustment in fees would ensure more applicants cover the true cost of their applications and minimizes subsidies from an already over-extended system,” USCIS Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement. – READ MORE


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