Sep 30, 2020
Breaking – Federal Court Blocks Implementation of Fee Increases
Joshua H. Rolf
- Blocks rule that was set to go into effect on October 2, 2020.
- Current fees, forms, and processing times will remain in effect for now.
- DHS expected to appeal injunction.
After hearing oral arguments this past Friday, a Federal Court in Northern California has enjoined the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) from implementing USCIS’ proposed fee increases that were scheduled to take effect on October 2, 2020. Per our prior update on this topic, these altered fees were to be accompanied by new forms, amended processing times, additional filing requirements, and the elimination of most fee waivers. Of note, the cost of filing for citizenship was set to nearly double, asylum applications would be accompanied by a filing fee, Premium Processing would move from 15 calendar days to 15 business days, advance parole and employment authorization fees would increase and be decoupled from adjustment of status filings, and all nonimmigrant classifications traditionally including in the Form I-129 would have their own individual forms that have not been released and yet would have been required for all filings as of the end of this week.
Now, following the North District of California’s ruling in Immigrant Legal Resource Center, et al., v. Chad F. Wolf, et al.,DHS and USCIS will be required to continue with its present fees, waivers, forms, and processing times, while the Court weighs the legality of the proposed Rule itself. In issuing this ruling, the Court found that the Plaintiffs were likely to succeed on the merits for several reasons – first amongst them that Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf lacked authorization to issue the rule by virtue of his improper appointment. Additionally, the Court opined that the Plaintiffs raised legitimate claims regarding substantive and procedural defects to the Rule. The Court refused to issue a stay of the injunction while DHS appeals the ruling, but could do so at a later date.
With a forthcoming appeal and the opportunity for DHS to file a motion to stay the injunction amid ongoing litigation, the situation remains fluid. If you have any questions regarding how the injunction impacts your case, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Firm.