A federal court has temporarily barred the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from implementing a rule that would have significantly increased many immigration application filing fees. The rule was set to take effect October 2, 2020. In prohibiting USCIS from implementing the rule while litigation proceeds, the court found that acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf was likely improperly appointed and thus likely lacked authority to issue the rule. The government is expected to appeal the decision.
Overview of the Fee Rule
The fee rule would have significantly increased filing fees for many applications including petitions for H-1B, L-1, O and TN status, and applications for citizenship. The rule also introduced new versions of some USCIS forms and extended the premium processing adjudication period from 15 calendar days to 15 business days. The court’s order prohibits USCIS from implementing or enforcing any portion of the rule, so while the injunction is in effect, USCIS may not implement the fee increases, increase premium processing times, nor require the new forms advanced in the rule. As of the publication of this alert, USCIS has not yet updated its website with respect to the court’s order.
The case, from the Northern District of California, is Immigrant Legal Resource Center, et al v. Chad F. Wolf et al., case number 4:20-cv-05883.