In a major development in the United States, the Trump administration announced on Friday (July 31) that it will increase US immigration fees, which will require asylum applicants to pay the first ever fee. Naturalization application fees will also increase by more than 80%.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is in charge of the country’s immigration and naturalization system, said in its announcement that the new fee structure may take effect on October 2.
According to a CNN report, the cost of online naturalization applications has now increased from US$640 to US$1,160, while the fee for asylum seekers is US$50.
According to the Immigration Policy Institute, asylum applicants around the world do not have to pay application fees. With this special announcement, the United States is now the fourth country to impose asylum fees after Australia, Fiji and Iran.
The decision was made after the US Immigration Service suspended services due to severe budget shortages and vacations caused by the new coronavirus pandemic.
Trump is studying the “Great Immigration Act”
On the other hand, Trump said that his government is enacting what he calls the “Grand Immigration Act.”
Xinhua News Agency reported that Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday before traveling to Florida that the bill would be based on the merits.
In addition, he said that the government is working with representatives of the “Delayed Arrival for Children” (DACA) program, which aims to provide undocumented immigrants who are brought into the country as children with a permit to live and work legally.
Trump made the remarks a few days after his administration announced that it is reviewing DACA and will reject the new application.
DACA was created by Barack Obama’s previous administration in 2012 through an administrative memorandum. It previously gave recipients a two-year deportation extension, and has made them eligible for work permits, driving licenses and Health insurance.
It is estimated that the recipients of DACA are approximately 700,000, and they are often referred to as “dreamers.”
Trump will abolish the plan as an important part of his tough immigration policy. He first announced his intention to abolish DACA in September 2017.
During the coronavirus pandemic, Trump stepped up actions to restrict immigration.
Critics believe that as the November election approaches, he is using the pandemic to promote his political agenda and attract voters.
(Use IANS input)