According to federal officials at US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) who spoke to Buzzfeed News off the record, the Trump regime has been mulling a plan to charge a fee for filing an application for political asylum.
The proposal hasn't been finalized yet, but officials say the plan calls for charging some immigrants $50 just to file an application that will probably be denied.
The proposal, included in a not-yet-finalized draft regulation, would charge applicants, if they are already residing in the US, $50 to apply for asylum. Currently, there is no fee to enter an “affirmative asylum” application. The fee would not apply to those who claim a fear of persecution at ports of entry or those who apply for the protections while in deportation proceedings. There would be no waiver of the fee for those who cannot afford to pay the $50.
A Syracuse University study published this week found that the Trump regime is rejecting a record 65 percent of all applications for asylum, meaning the large majority of people who could be asked to pay this fee under the new rules would end up paying it for nothing.
It's not clear to me if this would even be legal under current federal law, but that doesn't mean they won't try it.
Refugee and asylum law are areas of immigration law that open to the least amount of interpretation, but that hasn't stopped Trump from trying to break the law by issuing an executive order to deny applications to immigrants who crossed the border illegally. A federal court blocked that order just before Thanksgiving.