Outrage over Trump imposing fees for asylum applications is misplaced.
By Nolan Rappaport


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Unlike most government agencies, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is fee-funded. The fees it collects for processing immigration and naturalization benefit requests fund nearly 96 percent of its budget.

USCIS has determined that the fees it currently charges will leave the agency underfunded by approximately $1.3 billion per year if they are not increased. Accordingly, on Feb. 14, 2019, it published a proposed rule that would adjust the fees by a weighted average increase of 21 percent and add new fees for certain applications. The previous fee schedule adjustment in 2016 also made a weighted average increase of 21 percent.

The most controversial item in the most recent proposal is a fee for filing asylum applications. The funding needed for processing asylum applications has always been taken from the fees charged for processing the other benefit applications.

Filing fees for asylum applications are very uncommon.

Only three of the 147 countries that signed the 1951 Convention and/or the 1967 Protocol charge a filing fee for asylum applications (Australia, Fiji, and Iran).

According to Jessica Bolter, an analyst at the Migration Policy Institute, filing fees for asylum applications are rare because "it's more important to protect someone from persecution than it is to receive payment for the services you are providing."
Doug Rand, who was an Obama White House official, claims that this is "an unprecedented weaponization of government fees."

And Barbara Strack, a former chief of the USCIS’ Refugee Affairs Division claims that, “The only way to understand this is as a part of the administration’s campaign of hostility against the asylum program.”

I disagree with these comments.

Read more at https://thehill.com/opinion/immigrat...s-is-misplaced

Published originally on The Hill.

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. Follow him on Twitter @NolanR1

Or at https://nolanrappaport.blogspot.com