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Coalition Sues DHS Over USCIS Fee Rule

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ILRC, Aug. 21, 2020 “The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) today announced it had joined a coalition of 8 of the nation’s leading immigrants’ rights organizations in filing a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Chad Wolf, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and Kenneth Cuccinelli over DHS’s new Fee Rule,

ILRC, Aug. 21, 2020 “The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) today announced it had joined a coalition of 8 of the nation’s leading immigrants’ rights organizations in filing a lawsuit against the

Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Chad Wolf, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

(USCIS), and Kenneth Cuccinelli over DHS’s new Fee Rule increasing application fees for immigration benefits, including citizenship and asylum.

The coalition is seeking a nationwide injunction of the rule to prevent it from going into effect October 2, 2020.
In their lawsuit, the coalition noted that DHS’s new Fee Rule violates the Administrative Procedure Act because it is contrary to law, and constitutes arbitrary and capricious agency action.
The Rule raises application fees for many essential immigration benefits by 30 to 266 percent, while eliminating most fee waivers for qualifying low income immigrants.
DHS justified the rule in part based on what it claims are the costs of processing applications. But during the notice and comment period, many criticized DHS for failing to explain how it calculated its skyrocketing costs and burned through ample cash reserves it had on hand just a few years ago.
“With DHS’s new Fee Rule, the Trump administration has demonstrated its willingness to disregard the rule of law in pursuit of its anti-immigrant and xenophobic agenda,” said Melissa Rodgers, Director of Programs for the Immigrant Legal Resource Center .
By failing to address the rule’s obviously flawed revenue modeling projections, the Trump administration has not only undercut its own legal rationale for finalizing the rule, it has contradicted USCIS’ own leaderships’ statements to Congress about the financial condition of the agency.
Once again, the historic racism and bigotry of this administration is matched only by its staggering incompetence. DHS’s Fee Rule has been widely condemned for its exclusionary impact on vulnerable immigrant families, and particularly people of color.
By raising naturalization fees by an unprecedented 83 percent, DHS has made the cost of obtaining citizenship prohibitively high for millions of eligible permanent residents, effectively imposing the United States’ first ever wealth test for citizenship.
Through establishing the nation’s first-ever fee for asylum seekers, the Trump administration has also made the United States just one of four countries in the world to impose such a fee on people fleeing dangerous situations such as war or political persecution.
In their lawsuit, the coalition noted that the Immigration and Nationality Act prioritizes family unity and diversity. By deliberately making the cost of securing essential immigration benefits unobtainable for millions of immigrant families, the Trump administration’s policy makes family separation inevitable, and violates statutory and constitutional law.
The coalition’s lawsuit also noted that neither Kevin McAleenan nor Chad Wolf, who is currently serving as Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, had valid authority to propose or promulgate the Rule under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act (FVRA).
This makes the rule unlawful under the Administrative Procedure Act. On Friday, August 14 the Government Accountability Office issued a decision confirming that Acting Secretaries Wolf and McAleenan were invalidly appointed to their positions.
The coalition argues that their invalid appointments render the Fee Rule void and without effect.”

Source: Blog Post: Coalition Sues DHS Over USCIS Fee Rule

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Biden administration tries to tackle large backlog in asylum cases

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According to this article on Fox 43, by Claire Bermudez

“The Biden administration is reportedly moving forward with a plan to shift where asylum cases are handled, in an effort to tackle a sizeable backlog in applications.

The plan, as NPR reports, would try to speed up processing by allowing officials at the Department of Homeland Security to rule on claims without sending them to immigration court, where it would be ultimately up to immigration judges.”

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32 Children Who Were Deported To Guatemala Last Year In Violation Of A Court Order Have Yet To Be Brought Back

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According to this article on BuzzFeed News, by Hamed Aleaziz

“Thirty-two unaccompanied immigrant children who were deported to Guatemala despite a judge’s order have yet to be brought back to the US to apply for asylum, six months after the government admitted it was in the wrong. Now, immigration advocates are ramping up pressure on the Biden administration to speed up the process.

“It has been months since these children were expelled in violation of a court order and we need answers immediately,” said Lee Gelernt, an attorney with the ACLU who led the lawsuit challenging the Trump-era policy. “The children need to be given a chance to speak to us as counsel and the option to return to the US if they choose.””

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Biden administration to resume fast-track deportation procedure for migrant families

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According to this article on WDJT-TV, by CNN

“(CNN) — The Biden administration is planning to speed up deportations for some migrant families who cross the US-Mexico border, the Department of Homeland Security said Monday.

Certain families will now be subject to the fast-track deportation procedure known as “expedited removal,” which allows immigration authorities to remove an individual without a hearing before an immigration judge. The procedure will apply to families who are not swiftly expelled under a pandemic-related border policy.

It’s the latest indication of the Biden administration’s wariness over migrants, including those seeking asylum, journeying to the US southern border. Asked about Vice President Kamala Harris’ “don’t come” message to migrants, President Joe Biden reiterated that “they should not come” during a CNN town hall last week, adding that the administration is trying to tackle the root causes of migration.”

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