August 6, 2020
For people seeking work or an escape to a better life in the United States, it's going to cost about two times the current amount, following a move by the Trump administration to hike fees on various immigration applications.
Michelle Mendez, director of defending vulnerable programs at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), calls the move an assault on immigration.
"This rule, these fees that have increased will make it extremely difficult for individuals to become legal immigrants, specifically to become naturalized immigrants, to become citizens," Mendez told Cheddar.
The new fees, which are set to be increased in October, will also gravely impact the world's most at-risk populations seeking asylum in the U.S., Mendez added.
"$50 may seem to be a small fee for many of us. We have to understand that asylum seekers leave their countries, they flee their countries with practically nothing," she said.
While news of the increased fees may be looked on as damning, Mendez said the move is on par with the Trump administration's previous moves to eliminate "access to the legal immigration process."
"During the [presidential] campaign, the rhetoric was very much focused on illegal immigration. We knew that that actually meant they were going to attack illegal and legal immigration," she said.
For Mendez, the idea of increasing fees and making the process even more difficult for people who want to become American is a jab at the foundation upon which the country was built.
"When we limit the opportunity for people to be engaged in the process by being citizens, that really undermines our democracy. That really undermines our democratic process," she stated.