U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, under the Biden administration, unveiled a new proposal on Tuesday that would drastically raise permit cost for legal immigrants in order to pay for the backlog of asylum claims brought on by record-high illegal immigration.
The USCIS estimates that the fee modifications will bring in between $5.2 billion and $6.4 billion in annual income. In 2022 and 2023, the department’s existing charge schedule is anticipated to generate about $3.28 billion yearly.
In order to “completely recoup the cost of all expenditures and meet predicted demand for services,” according to USCIS, an additional $1.9 billion a year will be “required.”
To ensure complete cost recovery, the revised fee schedule “represents an overall average weighted increase of 40%.” The most recent fee adjustment made by the DHS took place in 2016, when an average weighted increase of 21% was adopted.
Permits, visas, and green cards would all be subject to additional charges. For instance, the cost of submitting an H-1B pre-application increased by 2050%, from $10 to $215. A additional $600 Asylum Program Fee will also be levied against employers who apply for work visas.
According to the proposal, the additional funds will be used for a variety of expenses, including hiring 7,778 more employees, annual raises for employees, contact price increases, technology upkeep and upgrades, customer support, new hire training, refugee resettlement, FOIA responses, and also the “Asylum Processing Rule.”
In order to “finance more asylum officers adjudicating genuine fear and rational fear claims at the border,” according to the USCIS, $425.9 million will be set aside. Additionally, more personnel will be hired for about $1,165.7 million, and another $149 million will be allocated for annual raises.
In the fiscal year 2022, 2.3 million migrants were intercepted by US Customs and Border Protection along the southern border.
According to Syracuse University’s Transactional Data Access Clearinghouse, asylum seekers must wait an average of 4.3 years to appear in court because of backlogs. At least 1.6 million asylum cases, according to TRAC, are awaiting a court date.
USCIS Director Ur M. Jaddou said, “USCIS must strive to fulfill our expanding humanitarian mission, maintaining fairness, honesty, and respect for those we serve, in addition to strengthening customer service operations and managing the incoming burden. This proposed rule will enhance the Administration’s work to reform the legal immigration system and permits USCIS to more completely recover operational costs for the first time in over six years.”