The Trump administration plans to raise fees on various immigration applications and impose a $50 fee on asylum claims, the Daily Caller has reported.
In a statement released on Friday, Acting Director Ken Cuccinelli said that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an agency funded almost entirely by fees, will be raising fees in order to match increasing expenditures. The administration's proposed fee rule will be added to the Federal Register on Nov. 14.
"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, " Cuccinellii said.
The last time USCIS updated its fee structure was in fiscal year 2017. According to the statement, "Current fees would leave the agency underfunded by approximately $1.3 billion per year." According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the number of migrants seeking asylum at ports of entry along the southwest border nearly doubled in fiscal year 2018 from the previous year, and we've had a few caravans since then.
"The proposed fee rule accounts for increased costs to adjudicate immigration benefit requests, detect and deter immigration fraud, and thoroughly vet applicants, petitioners, and beneficiaries," the statement reads.
Currently, it can take anywhere from several months to several years for the agency to process asylum requests. In Jan. 2019, there were 325,277 pending affirmative asylum cases up from 6,382 pending cases in Jan. 2010.