August 21, 2020 Roundup

AILA and several other advocacy organizations have filed a lawsuit challenging the final rule that drastically increases the cost of applying for immigration benefits, including naturalization and asylum. The lawsuit claims that the increase in fees is arbitrary and unreasonable to low income immigrants forcing them to give up valuable rights simply due to lack of funds.

They are asking that the rule be declared unlawful and invalid and that an order be issued preventing immigration from implementing or enforcing the rule. Immigration has raised fees many times before and each time it has been successful in collecting the increased fees. Seems highly unlikely that immigrants will prevail on this issue. On the other hand, it is worth a try.

Elections are just over the horizon. So far, Joe Biden has been making promises that within the first 100 days he will end child/parent separation at the border; reverse the strict asylum policies (ie policies impacting gang cases, domestic violence cases, travel through third countries, etc); increase humanitarian efforts at the borders; end prolonged detention policies; reverse the public charge rules and protect DACA recipients.

These are the changes that immigrant advocates and attorneys have been seeking. The system in existence now is much harsher than it needs to be. Joe Biden promises a compassionate and a rational approach. Of course, such an approach is easy to expound during the election cycle. It remains to be seen, if elected, whether he will be able to fulfill his promises.

Speaking of DACA, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced that the state and others “expect to bring challenges” to a new policy for the DACA addressing the limits the Administration has placed on renewals (one year instead of two) and rejection of new DACA applications.

These type of challenges are common, and it was expected that advocacy groups would go back to court to force the Administration’s hand. If they manage to get even a temporary order forcing USCIS to accept new applications, it could be a big help for many students. This will also force the next administration (perhaps the Biden Administration) to set forth policies to help the DREAMERS. As I have said before, “to be seen.”