Rule Also Helps Make Benefits Accessible to Low-Income Immigrants of Color
(Washington)—The final Fee Rule issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reduces fees, benefiting immigrants applying for immigration relief, including children, asylum seekers and survivors of violence. The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) continues its in-depth analysis of the rule, published on January 31, but upon initial glance the rule helps improve the accessibility of immigration benefits to low-income immigrants of color.
“The ILRC submitted lengthy comments, based on our decades of experience working with the immigration field, during the comment period in 2023 and we are heartened to see many of our suggestions incorporated in the final rule. The agency’s decision to lower many of the fees it had originally proposed and to expand the availability of fee exemptions for vulnerable groups, such as asylees, refugees, and survivors of violence and human trafficking is the right direction,” said ILRC Policy Attorney & Strategist Elizabeth Taufa. “Forms and fees can be added and undue complications on an immigrant’s journey and the agency’s efforts to lower barriers to immigration benefits in this way is very welcome.”
Other highlights of the rule include:
- Codifying the guidelines for determining eligibility for a fee waiver.
- Expanding the availability of fee reductions for citizenship applicants.
- Reducing the fees to be paid for families seeking to submit green card applications together.
USCIS last updated application fees in 2016 and last year, the Biden Administration proposed a revised fee schedule. The new fee rule goes into effect on April 1, 2024.
“The ILRC commends USCIS for its efforts to enshrine these protections for vulnerable applicants and to reduce barriers these applicants face in accessing relief,” Taufa said.
The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a national nonprofit that works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, and policy makers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. Through community education programs, legal training & technical assistance, and policy development & advocacy, the ILRC works to protect and defend the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities.