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Trump admin under fire as it seeks to hike fees for deportation appeals

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The Trump administration is proposing another step in its effort to enforce U.S. immigration laws by dramatically increasing the fees for deportation appeals.

A proposed new regulation was announced by the Executive Office for Immigration Review on Thursday which seeks to increase the fee to nearly $1,000 for foreign nationals trying to appeal their deportation orders.

(File Photo: YouTube screenshot)

The proposed fee hike would make immigrants responsible for more of the costs and would also assure American taxpayers “do not bear a disproportionate burden” in funding the system, according to the EOIR, which is part of the Justice Department.

Current deportations ordered by the U.S. immigration court system cost $100 to $110 to appeal, depending on the appeal itself. But under the proposed rule change, the $110 fee to file an EOIR-26 appealing a deportation order would increase to $975.

“The activity-based cost analysis demonstrates that EOIR’s processing costs consistently exceed the assessed fees for these EOIR applications for relief, appeals, and motions,” the proposal read.

“Although EOIR is an appropriated agency, EOIR has determined that it is necessary to update the fees charged for these EOIR forms and motions to more accurately reflect the costs for EOIR’s adjudications of these matters,” it continued. “EOIR’s calculation of fees accordingly factors in both the public interest in ensuring that the immigration courts are accessible to aliens seeking relief and the public interest in ensuring that U.S. taxpayers do not bear a disproportionate burden in funding the immigration system.”

The proposal also requires that asylum seekers pay a $50 fee in order to have their cases heard in court, a departure from the established process which had no monetary bearing.

“I think that new proposed regulation is absolutely outrageous and will have draconian consequences on the ability of noncitizens in removal proceedings to be able to navigate and access the system that Congress put in place for the proceedings,” attorney Trina Realmuto with the American Immigration Council told The New York Times, complaining that the new rules would be effectively “putting a price tag” on asylum.

The EOIR is not the only fee hike being proposed as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has also recommended a price increase that would affect immigrants and visa applicants. Naturalization for new citizens would see an increase of $445, to $1,170 for the process and fees for green cards would go up to $990, to a total of $2,750.

“For many of our clients, it basically is an insurmountable obstacle,” Matt Adams, legal director for the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, said.

“It’s undermining the very idea of a fair hearing,” he added. “It’s like, ‘You can get a fair hearing, if you have enough money to pay for it.’”

The Trump administration has begun erecting billboards in Guatemala and El Salvador, and unveiling advertising panels on bus stops in Honduras warning would-be migrants about the dangers of illegally traveling to the U.S.

The signs include information about the increased border security measures employed between the United States and Mexico and the U.S. agreements with Central American countries that allow the deportation of asylum-seeking migrants.

Frieda Powers

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