In a memorandum signed Monday, the current administration called upon the departments of Justice and Homeland Security, giving them 90 days to implement a fee structure that will charge asylum-seekers for asylum applications and work permits. HRI’s Executive Director, Bill Holston, weighs in here:
Often forced to leave quickly, asylum-seekers are a vulnerable group that rarely has any assets or funds. Refugee support groups and institutions believe that installing a fee system for applications and work permits will further push asylum-seekers into poverty and leave them even more vulnerable to victimization. Cost of filing applications on various visas is already quite steep; this proposal strikes a major blow.
All of HRI’s services have always been 100% free to our clients. In the past, we have not paid client filing fees for work authorization, green cards, and the like, mostly because our clients fall within the guidelines of policies designed to provide humanitarian protection and those providing aid to indigent applicants.
However, the current administration has sought to curtail protections and limit or eliminate financial assistance. Therefore we can no longer count on the fact that individuals, who should obtain waivers for fees, will receive them. Already, we find our clients are facing increasing difficulties meeting the filing costs.
This week, in a memorandum signed 4/29/2019, the current administration has called upon the departments of Justice and Homeland Security, giving them 90 days to implement a fee structure that will charge asylum-seekers for asylum applications and work permits. We want to be prepared for this emerging need.
Did you know? An Employment Authorization Document can cost $410? In FY18, HRI helped clients file for 290 EADs: 187 first-time and 103 EAD renewals.* An Adjustment of Status (Green Card) costs between $750 and $1225. HRI clients applied for 122 Green Cards in FY18.
We are establishing a fund within our annual budget to supports clients struggling to meet some of these costs. Your additional gift of any amount can make a real difference for an asylum seeker who only wants to work to support her family. Help us prepare for even greater needs that will arise if the most recent memorandum succeeds in eliminating all fee waivers.
*Under current policy, not all EAD applications incur fees. Fees are charged for all EAD renewals and EAD applications for family members who are not primary U Visa or Asylum applicants.
For the past 19 years, HRI has provided 100% free legal and social services, not just to asylum seekers but to various other vulnerable refugees and immigrants. HRI’s transparent business model, that includes extensive pro-bono and volunteer networks, multiplies every dollar donated by three. This is a critical time to do critical work. You can help. www.hrionline.org/donate