AILA Quicktake #295: AILA and Sidley Austin Halt USCIS Fee Rule in Its Tracks

In a big court win for AILA and its partners, the implementation of the USCIS Fee Rule has been stopped. On 9/29/20, a district court preliminarily enjoined DHS from implementing or enforcing any part of the rule. AILA’s Director of Federal Litigation Jesse Bless explains the court’s decision.

Video Transcript

Hello, I'm happy to bring you great news. On September 29th, 2020 the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California stopped USCIS from imposing a free rule and implementing form that were schedule to take effect, just three days later, on October 2nd, 2020.

The fees would have dramatically increased for those who are seeking immigration benefits, including for the first time ever imposing a $50 fee on those seeking asylum.

It would have ramped up the cost of naturalization 83 percent and it would have removed the ability for fee waivers. That's no longer the case.

We are so grateful that we are able to achieve this great success with our partners Sidley Austin and serve our plaintiffs, eight nonprofit organizations serving low-income communities.

The court not only found that Mr. McAleenan and Mr. Wolf did not have the authority because they were not serving validly in the appointed positions, or supposed appointed positions, but also that in implementing this rule the agency itself did not take into account the harms that this rule would impose on low-income individuals including many served by our plaintiffs.

This is a huge victory, okay, those fees would have crushed not only our plaintiffs but those of they serve. And those people who we want who congress specifically has targeted for benefits, those seeking citizenships, those applying for protection in the U.S.

For now, the rule has been enjoined in its entirety. The government may appeal but has not done so. If and when it does, we are likely to have an expeditious review on appeal before the ninth circuit. However, there are many steps between now and then and for now, please remember this: the new fees are not effective, and you do not need to use any new forms. If and when that changes, AILA will be the first one to tell you.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 20100539.