Judge Halts Trump-Issued Court Fee Hikes for Immigrants Facing Deportation

“Our immigrant clients are long-time residents of our community and people whose lives are in danger in their home countries. These fee increases would have priced them out of a fair day in court,” she added.

Other nonprofits opposing the new fee rule — which could still ultimately be implemented — called on the incoming Biden administration to take steps to reverse it.

In his ruling, Mehta ordered the government to retain the current fee amounts — of up to $110 — for six types of filings, including forms to apply for cancellation of removal and for appealing a Department of Homeland Security officer’s decision. The judge, however, allowed two other fee increases to go into effect — pertaining to certain appeals and motions to reopen cases — concluding they did not cause irreparable harm to plaintiffs.

EOIR did not immediately return a request for comment on the judge’s ruling.

The agency previously stated it had not conducted a thorough review of its fees for more than 30 years, and that the new fee structure better reflects the actual costs of processing those applications.

EOIR Director James McHenry said the fee hikes aimed to save taxpayers nearly $45 million per year.

Last fall, a federal judge for the Northern District of California halted another Trump administration rule that would have sharply increased the cost of applying for immigration benefits such as work permits and naturalization.

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