Immigrants flee their countries to seek better opportunities for their families but most of them struggle to make ends meet on a daily basis.
The U.S. allows immigrants who feel their deportation cases did not get a fair trial or those who want their claims reconsidered to appeal the decision of the judges at a fee.
In a Buzzfeed report, the Trump administration is in talks with the Department of Justice to increase the fee by almost 700%. This new fee, when implemented, will largely deter immigrants from appealing their case.
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For those who want to request an appeal of an immigration judge’s decision, they will now pay $975 and for the ones who want to request that the Board of Immigration Appeals reconsider their case, they will pay $895. This is close to $1000 for both cases, which is far out of reach for most immigrants.
Currently, both cases pay a flat fee of $110 which has not seen an increase since 1986. Experts say this is another tactic the anti-immigration Trump administration is employing to tighten the means by which immigrants get legal status.
The DOJ (Justice Department) document, however, adds that the new regulation would allow immigrants to apply for a fee waiver.
For the proposal to be accepted as a working document, it requires a 60-day comment period before it can take effect.
Some experts like Rebecca Jamil, a former immigration judge in San Francisco, said, “They are essentially depriving people of the right to appeal — that is big money. It’s a substantial increase of fees that’s beyond the reach of people.”
She was privy to handle immigration cases and so speaks to this effect from her interactions with immigrants. She adds that there are some people who have been asked to wait at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facility.
Others have been asked to wait in Mexico whiles their cases are tried at the U.S. immigration courts.
Those at the detention facilities won’t be able to work to save up for the new increment, neither will those in Mexico because they need the immigration to pull through in order to seek a better life in America. To obtain such funds, for these two groups of people, would be near impossible.
Policy Analyst at the Policy Institute Sarah Pierce adds her voice, saying, “The administration has not put an emphasis on the due process of immigrants — these fees seem to be in light with that pattern. I absolutely think this will deter people from appealing decisions, even if they are unjust.”
There have been other adjustments in the immigration sector that immigrants are still grappling with. In August, six immigration judges who had recorded higher rates in denying asylum to applicants were promoted to the Board of Immigration Appeals.
Also, the DOJ, in 2018, imposed quotas for immigration judges which would sacrifice diligence over speed. The judges would be forced to speed up cases at the detriment of their assiduousness and immigrants are most likely to feel the impact of such a move.