More than 50 mayors, including Denver’s Michael Hancock, on Wednesday sent the Trump administration a letter to urge its withdraw of a proposed rule that would increase immigration application fees, nix most fee waiver, and funnel money from application fees to immigration enforcement.
The proposed regulation would increase the U.S. citizenship application fee by 83%, raising the cost from $640 to $1,170. The proposal would also up the cost of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewals from $495 to $765, as well as add a $50 fee for some asylum applications.
The regulation, if approved, would take more than $110 million of what the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) collects from application fees and put into the budget of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The U.S. Census Bureau estimates there are more than 97,000 immigrants living in Denver. They represent more than 15% of the city’s total population.
“Denver joins our fellow diverse and welcoming communities across the nation in demanding that access to citizenship and other immigration benefits not be cut off for low-income and working-class immigrants,” Hancock said in a statement. “The proposed fee increases send the wrong message. Today, we stand together in affirming that the American Dream and the promise of opportunity should not have a wealth test.”
“Our values indicate that we are better than this, and as elected officials from a diverse set of cities and counties across this nation, we demand better,” wrote Democrats Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti in the letter, supported by 48 other mayors and county executives.
The letter urged the withdrawal of the proposed rule altogether, and also requested that USCIS extend the review period of the proposed rule to the “standard” 60-day review period, rather than 45 days, which the mayors wrote was “insufficient and unjustified.”
As it stands now, the rule could go into effect as early as Spring 2020, when it could affect nearly nine million residents legally living in the United States who are eligible for citizenship, the mayors wrote.
“Denver welcomes and embraces our immigrant residents and communities,” Hancock said, “and we will never support attempts to keep people from having a better life for themselves and their families.”