Today is the last day to protest USCIS fee hikes. Your voice counts.
U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) recently proposed a 492 percent increase in USCIS fee hikes to access historical records held by the USCIS Genealogy Program.
The comment period for USCIS fee hikes closes TODAY at 11:59 PM EST on 10 February 2020.
Protest USCIS Fee Hikes
If you have immigrant ancestors, protest USCIS fee hikes TODAY at:
- Federal eRulemaking Portal (preferred): http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the website instructions to submit comments.
- Mail: Samantha Deshommes, Chief, Regulatory Coordination Division, Office of Policy and Strategy, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20529-2140. To ensure proper handling, please reference DHS Docket No. USCIS-2019-0010 in your correspondence. Mail must be postmarked by the comment submission deadline.
- Contact: your senators and representatives to let them know your opposition to the fee hikes. Resist.bot is a great way to accomplish this.
USCIS Fee Hikes Statement from SAA
To inform your comments about USCIS Fee Hikes, here are statements from the Society of American Archivists and the National Genealogical Society:
The Society of American Archivists, which represents more than 6,000 professional archivists and archives organizations throughout the United States, states:
As outlined in the agency’s proposed rule-making under Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Docket No. USCIS-2019-0010, USCIS proposes significant increases in two fees: The fee for the agency to search the Master Index of the Genealogy Program would increase from $65 to $240 (269%) and the fee to request a record would increase from $65 to $385 (492%). The current fees already were significantly increased from their 2016 levels of $20 and $35, respectively.
Based on our significant concerns about diminished access to these records, SAA opposes the increases and proposes that USCIS instead transfer these public records to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA)….
Although SAA understands and appreciates the challenges associated with maintaining a large, complex set of records and recovering the costs to reproduce those records for public access, we believe that the proposed fees would undercut the intent of FOIA and limit access to these records by those without the significant financial means to afford them.
SAA urges USCIS to reconsider the proposed fee increases. We believe that fees of this magnitude do not support government accountability and public access. Further, we urge USCIS to work with NARA to transfer its historical records to the National Archives, which has a clear statutory mandate and the expertise to effectively and efficiently preserve and provide access to USCIS records.
USCIS Fee Hikes Statement from NGS
The National Genealogical Society notes:
The USCIS is the successor agency to Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS). Combined, the agencies have dealt with immigration and naturalization for most of the 20th century.
In addition to current immigration, USCIS manages historical records of interest to countless genealogists and other researchers. Current fees for copies of those records are $65 for index search and copy of a digitized record, plus $65 if the record is available in paper only.
The proposal increases the search fee to $240 for index search and copy of a digitized record, plus $385 if the record is available in paper only—as much as $625 for a single record.
The voices of every single genealogist and historian matter. Protest USCIS Fee Hikes and join 40,000+ other researcgers opposed to exorbitant fees impeding access to historical records TODAY.