New Suit Aims To Block Immigration Fee Hikes

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New Suit Aims To Block Immigration Fee Hikes

A fresh legal battle confronts the Biden administration as a lawsuit surfaces, contesting the controversial immigration fee hikes aimed at employers. Samantha Moody, a Canadian national on an EB-5 investor visa, alongside the American Immigrant Investor Alliance and the IT Service Alliance, have taken their grievances to a Colorado federal court. Their core argument revolves around the administration’s alleged failure to sufficiently justify the fee increases.

New Suit Aims To Block Immigration Fee Hikes : Lack of Transparency

Moody and the groups assert that the fee hikes, implemented in January, were shrouded in opacity. They claim that crucial data justifying the government’s calculations was not provided to the public. Furthermore, attempts to access this information were met with obstacles, as the provided contact belonged to a private individual unrelated to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Discrepancies in Calculation Methods

Central to the lawsuit is the discrepancy in calculation methods. While employers’ ability to pay was determined using net income, the new fees were calculated based on gross income. This incongruity, the plaintiffs argue, lacks rationale and transparency. Additionally, the fee increases for EB-5 investors like Moody purportedly circumvented the requisite fee study mandated under the EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act of 2022.

New Suit Aims To Block Immigration Fee Hikes : Implications and Criticism

The proposed fee hikes, announced in January 2023, drew swift criticism from various quarters. Business communities and immigration attorneys voiced concerns that the rule would exacerbate the challenges of hiring foreign workers amid prevailing labor shortages.

Legal Action and Objectives

The lawsuit seeks to invalidate the final fee regulation while also asserting that the administration violated the Administrative Procedure Act. With the implementation of the new fees slated for April 1, the plaintiffs have petitioned the court to stay its enforcement pending the lawsuit’s resolution. Importantly, they clarify that their intention is not to obstruct reasonable fee charging for immigration benefits but to ensure adherence to legal procedures.

Unprecedented Burden

Moody and her cohorts underscore the unprecedented nature of the final rule, highlighting that it mandates employment-based petitioners to finance asylum applications for the first time in U.S. history. They argue that such measures overlook the significant burden imposed on individuals seeking employment-based immigration benefits.

Legal Representation and USCIS Response

Represented by legal counsel from Bless Litigation LLC, The Galati Law Firm, and Wasden Law, Moody and the groups emphasize their pursuit of lawful procedures in immigration fee adjudication. However, USCIS has yet to offer a response to the allegations.