Lawsuit seeks to block USCIS fee rule

27 Aug 20

UNITED STATES

The American Immigration Lawyers Association and several nonprofit organizations have filed a lawsuit to block a regulation that will significantly increase U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) filing fees across the board.

Key points:

  • The regulation, scheduled to take effect Oct. 2, increases fees on most petitions and applications, limits eligibility for fee waivers traditionally available to applicants who are unable to pay, and imposes fees for asylum applicants for the first time.
  • The lawsuit asserts that the regulation is unlawful on several grounds, including that it fails to explain purported skyrocketing USCIS costs that justify the increases, that it is invalid because it was promulgated under two Acting DHS officials who were improperly appointed, and that it violates the Administrative Procedure Act, the Due Process Clause and the Equal Protection Clause.
  • The plaintiffs ask the court to block the regulation from taking effect while the lawsuit progresses on the underlying issues of whether the regulation is lawful.

Background: In addition to increasing asylum and naturalization application fees, the regulation significantly increases filing fees for employment-based applications, imposes different fees for each type of temporary work-visa application, expands applicability of the 9-11 response and biometric entry-exit fee, and lengthens the premium processing time frame from about two weeks (15 calendar days) to about three weeks (15 business days). View a summary of changes here.

The regulation also separates the current Form I-129 Petition for Nonimmigrant Worker into new forms for different visa categories. USCIS stated that it will post new and revised forms 30 days before the rule takes effect.

BAL Analysis: BAL is following the lawsuit and will report on significant developments, including the court’s decision on the request for an injunction.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@balglobal.com.

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