Comments about the new $50 asylum fee introduced this year under the Tump administration continue in this fifth installment of this series.
So far I have yet to be convinced by the Department of Homeland Security that charging people a fee to seek asylum in this country is something I should support. Also that that joining Iran as one of four countries that directly charge a fee (not including Russia that allows for free entry but requires a medical assessment that does cost money) is not giving me confidence that we should do this.
So the next comment raised:
Comment: With regard to the Form I-589 fee and the fee for an initial Form I-765 filed by an asylum applicant, commenters stated:
-Asylum seekers should not have to pay for an asylum application or an associated work permit because they are not authorized to work for months once in the United States and would have no way of earning money to pay for the fees.
-Asylum seekers in detention, who earn at most $1 a day would have no way to pay the $50 fee.
-Asylum seekers are not allowed to work more than 4 hours a day and are thus unable to pay increased fees.
-Asylum seekers who are poor or need to “quickly flee situations of peril or harm” would be harmed by the asylum fee proposal, and that such individuals would not be able to earn enough money to pay asylum fees once in detention.
-Asylum seekers are often minors with no means to support themselves and therefore cannot afford an asylum fee.
First off, Form I-765 is the Application for Employment Authorization. The fee for this form has gone up this year by more than 34% to $550 from $410. Those who seek asylum cannot work without authorization, so unless they have supporters who are here already, they’re kind of stuck if they want to do things legally.
Also asylum seekers are only recently barred from even applying for work permits at the same time they file for asylum. Now they have to wait a year until they can get a job legally.
I am uncertain but am guessing that those who are in detention are because they came here illegally but are seeking asylum, which is allowed by our government. If they are eligible to work, it would be at a rate that would make $50 about impossible to raise alone. I encourage someone more knowledgeable in this area to help me with info in this area if I am mistaken.
This all seems like creating barrier after barrier to make sure that people can’t come in or don’t want to come in or can’t stay. And if they have legitimate claim to be here, we can adopt them.
Response from the Department of Homeland Security:
Response: DHS acknowledges the commenters’ concerns about asylum seekers’ ability to pay the fees for the asylum application and associated EAD. DHS considered the effect of the fees on asylum seekers and believes the fees would not impose an unreasonable burden on applicants or prevent asylum seekers from seeking protection or EAD. DHS also acknowledges that the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) of 2008, provides a range of protections for unaccompanied alien children. As such, DHS excluded unaccompanied alien children in removal proceedings, a particularly vulnerable population, from the imposition of the $50 asylum application fee.
The services that USCIS provides at no cost or below cost impacts the final fees imposed on other fee-paying applicants. However, DHS seeks to make the USCIS fee schedule more equitable for all applicants and petitioners in this final rule. Therefore, DHS declines to make changes in this final rule in response to these comments.
They maintain it’s not too expensive. Just straight disagree. They refuse even to acknowledge any of the work eligibility points.
And to say that below-cost services means that they have to shift the expenses elsewhere? First of all, do they? We have a lot of government programs that only are intentionally money-losers. Like the NEA. Sure, some people are against funding the NEA, and I probably don’t appreciate everything the NEA funds, but this year they granted $20,000 to the Appalachian Artisan Center of Kentucky for Metal Works for the Modern Muse. It teaches kids how to be blacksmiths. I think that’s really cool. But also that’s 400 asylum seekers. I’m not saying take away that award, I’m saying we don’t have to recover all costs.
Second, if they have to make up for it somewhere else, let them do that. I’m still against any fee for asylum seekers.