More on USCIS Proposes Fee Increases for Genealogy Records

The following announcement was written by Jan Meisels Allen, Chairperson of the IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee, and originally was posted to the IAJGS Public Records Access Alert message list. It is also republished here withJan’s permission:

On November 15, I posted to this forum [see https://blog.eogn.com/2019/11/15/uscis-proposes-fee-increases-for-genealogy-records/] about the proposed fee increase by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for genealogical files. USCIS proposes a raise in its two Genealogy Program fees from $65 to $240 and $385 and possibly more if you require paper copies. These are a 269 percent and 492 percent change respectively (if I did my math correctly). While I wrote only about the genealogy fee increase in the 92 page proposed rule there are other immigration fees being increased.

A coalition of genealogists, historians and records access advocates have created a portal about this with suggestions. Please see: https://www.recordsnotrevenue.com/

This is an uphill battle and only with thousands of comments submitted will we have a chance to change these proposed fees.

Please read the rule and submit your comments before December 16 the deadline. The coalition also suggests you copy your comments to your U.S. Representative and U.S. Senators. To contact your US Senator go to: https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?OrderBy=state&Sort=ASC

For your US Representative go to https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

There are finding aides if you don’t know who your elected officials are.

To read the proposed rule see: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-11-14/pdf/2019-24366.pdf

The Genealogy section is Section N which starts on page 62315-62316.

See Section 103.40 for Genealogical Research Requests on page 62359.

There are fees with DACA renewals with and without ICE transfers and I do not know why there are genealogy requests tied to DACA renewal fees (page 62329, 62331).

This is a 92 page proposed rule the remainder does not affect genealogy.

Written comments must be submitted on or before December 16, 2019. Comments must be identified by DHS Docket No. USCIS– 2019–0010 by one of the following methods:

•Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov

•By 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, Mailstop #2140, Washington, DC 20529–2140.

No hand delivered or couriered comments will be accepted. Nor will they accept anything on digital medial storage devices such as CDs/DVDs or USB drives.

Jan Meisels Allen
Chairperson, IAJGS Public Records Access Monitoring Committee

3 Comments

I actually like the fee increase. It will completely cut down the backlog. And we will receive the information quicker. Once they max out and there is no more waiting period prices will drop to be reasonable.

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    Jeff
    Name a time when a government fee decreased. And you’re suggesting it’s fine for people of modest means to never get the documentation they need?

    Liked by 1 person

By law, USCIS is funded mostly by money raised through their user fees, not by budget allocations.
The way I see it, either they have some grandiose plans and want to raise a whole lot of money, or they’re hoping that sky-high fees will cause some of their services’ demand to dwindle to a trickle, so that they can declare a program outdated and reassign most of its staff elsewhere…
Either way, I think they’re killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. Can Reclaim the Records help with this?

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