US weighs immigration fee hike
Agence France Presse, October 23, 2009
The US could raise the price of immigration-related fees as it battles a budget shortfall spurred by the global financial meltdown, a senior official said on Wednesday.
The cash-strapped US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is considering hiking fees, reducing expenditures or seeking help from Congress to address its financial woes, said agency director Alejandro Mayorkas.
'We will, as an agency, potentially have to make cuts, and we will, potentially, have to raise certain fees to meet the financial challenge brought about by a decline in revenue,' Mayorkas said. Immigration-related applications have dropped 'markedly' over the past year amid the economic downturn, and are behind the agencys revenue decline, he said.
USCIS was flooded with applications in 2007 ahead of last years US presidential elections and an increase in citizenship fees from 400 to 675 dollars. A record 7.7 million immigration applications were registered in 2007.