Raised Fees for Would-Be Citizens Slammed as ‘New Tax’ on U.S. Business

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U.S.-Mexican border. Photo by longIslandwinds via Flickr

The latest act by the White House to restrict the influx of undocumented immigrants into the United States amounts to a “new tax” on American business, charges the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Fee increases announced by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) last week will complicate and disrupt efforts by businesses looking for skilled workers seeking to become American citizens, said Jon Baselice, the Chamber’s executive director for immigration policy, reports Forbes.com.

“The significant fee increases are nothing more than new taxes on businesses that must be paid to meet their…workforce needs,” Baselice said.

The USCIS upped the cost to apply online to become a citizen from $640 to $1,160, an 81 percent increase. In addition to increasing the cost to apply, the new changes will also involve a $50 fee for asylum seekers.

These charges and numerous other new fees, first proposed last year, are scheduled to take effect beginning October 2, making the U.S. “one of only four countries around the world that charge a fee for humanitarian protection,” according to media reports.

“The fight over this rule is far from over,”  Baselice said.

The July 31 announcement, effectively doubling the cost of becoming a U.S. citizen, came on the same day border patrol agents raided a humanitarian aid station operated by the group No More Deaths, on the U.S.-Mexico border and detained 30 activists there.

In an attempt to expose what activists called “a massive show of force,” No More Deaths, which seeks to end fatalities of undocumented immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, tweeted a video showing the unmarked vehicles and the mask-less border patrol agents.

Some on Twitter went so far as to call it an act of “terrorism.”

“The Border Patrol wants to prevent people from accessing life-saving assistance,” said No More Deaths volunteer Paige Corich-Kleim.. “We view this is a clear violation of international humanitarian law.”

Sara Rose  George is a TCR news reporting intern.

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