After giving billionaire oligarchs an unprecedented tax cut that has led to record budget deficits for the federal government, the Trump administration is now trying to claw back funds to the Treasury, attempting to profit off the backs of asylum seekers and immigrants.
As reported by BuzzFeed News, the administration is proposing to dramatically increase the cost for filing appeals in deportation cases in a new draft regulation that the publication obtained.
The new proposal would raise the current fee of $110 to $975 for any request for an appeal of an immigration judge’s ruling and to $895 for the reopening or reconsideration of a case in front of the Board of Immigration Appeals. The new regulations would only take effect after a 60-day public comment period.
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If the fees are indeed raised, it could make appeals unaffordable for those whose claims are initially rejected by the courts. Advocates for asylum seekers will most likely oppose any increase in fees as a violation of due process rights for immigrants.
“They are essentially depriving people of the right to appeal — that is big money. It’s a substantial increase of fees that’s beyond the reach of people,” said Rebecca Jamil, a former immigration judge.
“This feels like the fees are being increased as obstacles for aliens to access the courts,” she said. “That’s where it becomes problematic.”
While the new regulations would still be leave the asylum seekers eligible to apply for a waiver for any fees, they are seen as an extension of the Trump administration’s attempts to remake the immigration court system to fit his anti-immigration agenda. Trump has already increased quotas on the number of cases that judges are required to complete every year, ended their ability to indefinitely suspend some cases, restricted the instances in which asylum can be granted, and returned thousands of previously adjudicated cases back to the courts.
“The administration has not put an emphasis on the due process of immigrants — these fees seem to be in light with that pattern,” said Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute. “I absolutely think this will deter people from appealing decisions, even if they are unjust.”
Such is the administration that we are currently saddled with, handing out the beaucoups bucks to the oligarchs that have plenty of money to spare, while soaking those who can least afford it. In Trump’s distorted world view, this is what passes for justice.
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Original reporting by Hamed Aleaziz at BuzzFeed News.