Resources on Fee Waivers (USCIS)

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On November 14, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published proposed rules in the Federal Register regarding changes to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) fee schedule and changes to certain other immigration benefit request requirements. This FAQ answers some common questions about the proposed changes.

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The Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., in conjunction with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Migration and Refugee Services and Catholic Charities USA, have submitted a comment in opposition to the Department of Homeland Security's notice of proposed rulemaking titled, "U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration Benefit Request Requirements," published on Nov. 14, 2019, and supplemented on Dec. 9, 2019.

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CLINIC and other plaintiffs filed suit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), certain DHS officers, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), seeking to enjoin the implementation of fee waiver changes. On Dec. 11, 2019, the Honorable Maxine M. Chesney, a District Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, granted the nationwide injunction, preventing USCIS from putting its proposed fee waiver changes into effect pending litigation.

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On December 13, 2019, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center ("ILRC"), Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. ("CLINIC"), Self-Help for the Elderly ("Self-Help"), and Central American Resource Center of California (“CARECEN”) will hereby move pursuant to Rule 65 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and Civil Local Rules 7-2 and 65-2 for a preliminary injunction prohibiting defendants the Department of Homeland Security ("DHS"), Kevin McAleenan, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, and the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") (collectively, the "Defendants") from enforcing certain rule changes to the fee waiver application process for naturalization applications.

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CLINIC, together with other immigrant-serving organizations and the City of Seattle, has sued United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, to block recent changes to its fee waiver policy. USCIS currently waives the naturalization fee for those who cannot afford to pay it, which is approximately 40 percent of applicants.

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On May 3, CLINIC submitted a public comment opposing USCIS’ proposed changes to fee waivers, including elimination of the means-tested benefit criterion. In the comment, CLINIC describes how the proposed changes will add burden and inefficiency at all levels, including on individuals, legal service providers, and on USCIS itself.