The Slatest

Trump Is Hiking Administrative Fees for Immigrants to Price Them Out of the Country

A camp in Mexico for asylum seekers waiting to be processed in the U.S.
A camp in Mexico for asylum seekers waiting to be processed in the U.S. John Moore/Getty Images

The Trump administration has proposed making the process of appealing a deportation order with an immigration court far more expensive for immigrants, proposing a price hike from the current rate of $110 to $975. The Trump Justice Department says jacking up the price, which has been the same for 35 years, is aimed at aligning the cost with inflation over that period. The Wall Street Journal points out, however, that inflation has been roughly 130 percent since 1986, while the DOJ price hike amounts to a nearly 800 percent increase.

“The new fee schedule is the latest in a series of moves by the Trump administration to speed up deportations and discourage the arrival of immigrants,” the New York Times notes. “Under the same proposal, the administration wants to require asylum seekers to pay a $50 fee to have their cases heard in court; historically, the asylum process has been available to people fleeing persecution regardless of their ability to pay.” In other words, the move is part of a larger push by the Trump administration to make it harder for many immigrants to have access to due process, or any access at all, with the intended effect being to essentially price many immigrants out of the country.

The U.S., under Trump, recently moved to raise the price of getting a green card and becoming a permanent resident from $990 to $2,750, as well as hiking the cost of naturalizing and becoming a citizen from $445 to $1,170. The White House also wants to penalize migrants applying for citizenship if they’ve needed to avail upon public services in the U.S., like food stamps or Medicaid. Even longtime undocumented residents protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program would need to pay $275 every two years to renew their permit to stay in the country if the White House has its way. The administration has also proposed eliminating fee waivers for immigrants that cannot afford to pay.