‘It flies in the face of what asylum and refugee requests are…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) The Trump administration is considering charging asylum-seekers a fee when they apply for entrance in the U.S., according to sources familiar with the proposal.
The fee is part of a new regulation the administration plans on introducing, which would charge applicants $50 to apply for asylum if they’re already residing in the U.S. The fee would not apply to those who seek asylum at ports of entry or those who apply while in deportation proceedings, reported Buzzfeed News.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services said there are more than 300,000 pending cases the fee would apply to. The regulation could potentially expedite the process and decrease the number of asylum-seekers who don’t meet the necessary requirements, officials said.
Still, the potential proposal has come under fire.
“People will say, ‘$50? What’s $50?’ but that’s not the point. This [seeking asylum] is not something people are doing voluntarily. It flies in the face of what asylum and refugee requests are,” Ur Jaddou, a former chief counsel at USCIS and current director of the advocacy organization DHS Watch, told Buzzfeed.
“These are people fleeing something and looking for protection from us … for us to turn around and say ‘that’s nice, we’d like to help but you’d have to pay a fee’ seems contrary to the point.”
The immigration agency already applies fees to applications for green cards, work permits and applications for family members who wish to come to the U.S.
But Juan Camilo Mendez Guzman, an immigration attorney, said charging asylum applicants a similar fee would be bad for the system.
“The reason we don’t charge for asylum applications is intuitive,” Guzman said. “Even if it keeps one person from being able to apply, is that what we are about? We are going to put a dollar amount on not getting sent back to a place of persecution? It’s crazy.”