March 30, 2020
KIND submitted comments to the Proposed Rule arguing that the proposed increases in filing fees should be withdrawn as they are not justified on the basis of cost or public policy and will deprive unaccompanied children of their right to review, conditioning justice on the ability to pay filing fees that increased ninefold in some cases. For example, if implemented, the cost of filing a motion to reopen or reconsider before the BIA would rise from $110 to $895 and the cost to file an appeal to the BIA would rise from $110 to $975. These astronomical increases are proposed without EOIR having conducted or shared an appropriate fee analysis, and appear to be based on a desire to generate revenue rather than to ensure access to justice. EOIR does not provide sufficient guarantees that unaccompanied children will truly have access to full review of their cases, and while it argues that waivers will be available, it does not provide clear and uniform guidance on fee waiver requests. In addition, EOIR proposes following USCIS’s lead in charging $50 to file an asylum claim, in violation of both US law and our international treaty obligations. EOIR makes no special provisions to recognize the hardships this poses for all asylum seekers, including unaccompanied minors, particularly because those who seek to appeal asylum decisions will be subject to the outrageous new fees for filing an appeal. Finally, EOIR provided only thirty days to comment on this highly important issue, and ignored requests to extend the comment period to the 60 days routinely provided. Even in the face of renewed requests to extend the deadline in light of the disruptions caused by the global pandemic, EOIR has failed to adjust its schedule accordingly.