On September 29, 2020, US District Court Judge Jeffrey White issued a preliminary injunction in the case of Immigrant Legal Resource Center v. Wolf, 4:20-cv-05883-JSW. This case was filed by a number of non profit organizations impacted by the increased fees and removal of access to fee waivers which were two of the main features of the new fee rule. A preliminary injunction here prevents USCIS from implementing any portion of the fee rule, but there remains a possibility that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals could overrule this decision at any time.
What Did the Court Order about the USCIS Fee Changes?
In this case, the judge ordered the following:
Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. section 705 the Court STAYS implementation and the effective date of of USCIS Immigration Fee Schedule and Changes to Certain Other Immigration Benefit Request Requirements, 85 Fed. Reg. 46,788 (Aug. 3, 2020) (the “Final Rule”) in its entirety pending final adjudication of this matter.Immigrant Legal Resource Center v. Wolf, 4:20-cv-05883-JSW, Preliminary Injunction
How to Respond to the Court’s Blocking the New USCIS Fee Rule
Some people may be tempted not to file before October 2nd now that the fee rule has been enjoined. However, it is still recommend to file before October 2nd in most cases if possible. Many people who were not going to be able to file by then will now gain some additional time to prepare their cases, which is great news.
But those who were planning to file should make sure to do so. There is always a risk that the Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit could stay this injunction. That would allow it go to back into effect. It has happened with other injunctions in the 9th Circuit during the Trump Administration. As a result, the general advice is to get your application in as soon as you are able to, but to also make sure it’s not missing documents or too rushed, which will increase mistakes.