Trump administration may force asylum seekers to pay $50 to enter the country with no waiver for those who can't afford it
The Trump administration is considering new regulations for migrant caravans, with one proposal to charge a $50 application fee to anyone seeking asylum in the US
In an effort to curb the growing influx of illegal immigrants at the border, the Trump administration is considering a $50 application fee for any migrant who seeks asylum in the United States, as per multiple reports.
Nonetheless, liberal proponents of immigration are outraged at the proposal, which would apply to any migrant seeking asylum in the US. According to Buzzfeed News, anyone seeking asylum claiming a fear of persecution at ports of entry is exempt from the payment. However, migrants who cannot afford to pay the $50 fee would not be able to apply for asylum if the proposal is implemented as policy.
The US Citizenship and Immigration Services, the federal agency in charge of handling asylum applications, is currently dealing with a backlog of 300,000 pending cases, considering more than 100,000 people applied for asylum last year itself, Daily Mail reports.
That said, while the USCIS is primarily funded by legal immigrants who file paperwork seeking work permits, green cards, or legal documents for family members from abroad, those seeking legal status in America by claiming they were victims of human trafficking or similar cases are not charged the required fee.
Nonetheless, Juan Camilo Mendez Guzman, an immigration lawyer based in San Francisco, called the proposal "crazy." "The reason we don’t charge for asylum applications is intuitive," said Guzman. "Even if it keeps one person from being able to apply, is that what we are about? We are going to put a dollar amount on not getting sent back to a place of persecution? It’s crazy." The Trump administration has been working hard to make it difficult for migrants to apply for asylum due to an alarming number of illegal crossings. If an application fee for asylum seekers is approved, it would be just the latest measure to curb such activities.
President Trump issued a proclamation last month in response to caravans of migrants approaching the border, barring entry to anyone who crossed the US-Mexico border. But a lower court judge blocked the ban temporarily and then refused to reinstate it immediately, forcing the administration to appeal to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for an immediate stay on Judge Jon Tigar’s November 19 temporary restraining order.
However, the 9th Circuit ruled last week that the ban is inconsistent with an existing law and an "attempted end-run around Congress." Tigar argued that according to federal law, immigrants in the US can request asylum regardless of whether they entered legally or otherwise. He said in his November 19 order that the president "may not rewrite the immigration laws to impose a condition that Congress has expressly forbidden."
This led to a public dispute between the commander-in-chief and Chief Justice John Roberts, with Trump branding Tigar as an "Obama judge" after he was appointed by his predecessor.