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The Trump Administration Is Proposing Raising Application Costs For DACA Recipients And Charging For Asylum Applications

There is tough news out of Washington this week that could make chasing the American Dream cost a lot more. According to a report published on Thursday, the Department of Homeland Security is proposing raising a range of fees for those seeking legal immigration and citizenship, as well as an increase in Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) renewal fees. There would also a proposed charge for asylum applications, which would charge $50 for applications and $490 for work permits. As of now, only Fiji, Australia and Iran currently do this for asylum applications. 

The price hikes would make the cost of citizenship applications go up by 83 percent, from $640 to $1,170. This would primarily affect roughly 9 million immigrants that are eligible to become U.S. citizens. DACA fees would also see a substantial rise as they would increase from $495 to $765. News of this fee hike comes in the same week that the Supreme Court heard arguments on the validity of President Trump’s justification to terminate DACA.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, the “current fees do not recover the full costs of providing adjudication and naturalization services.” The last time this such fee schedule was adjusted was at the end of 2016.

Credit: The Washington Post

The reasoning for the proposed price hikes and new fees is to help cover new expenses at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of USCIS, said that this will help the agency cover new costs in the last few years due to an increase in citizenship applications. 

“USCIS is required to examine incoming and outgoing expenditures, just like a business, and make adjustments based on that analysis. This proposed adjustment in fees would ensure more applicants cover the true cost of their applications and minimize subsidies from an already over-extended system,” Cuccinelli said in a press release. “Furthermore, the adjudication of immigration applications and petitions requires in-depth screening, incurring costs that must be covered by the agency, and this proposal accounts for our operational needs and better aligns our fee schedule with the costs of processing each request.”    

As of now, the agency will have a period of 30 days to receive public opinion, as established by law. The plan then is expected to go into effect Dec. 2, while the comment period will remain open until Dec. 16. 

Credit: @nytimes / Twitter

After the comment period ends next month, USCIS is then obligated by law to consider comments on the proposal before any of the new fees can put forward. This time period is key for millions of immigrants that are eligible to naturalize and become U.S. citizens before such fees rise. Immigration advocacy groups are calling forward to those groups as they may have only a few weeks before these price hikes go into effect. 

“If you were lacking motivation before, it’s now even more important because this outrageous rule aims to price out low-income and working-class immigrants from U.S. citizenship and so many other immigration benefits,” Diego Iñiguez-López, NPNA’s policy and campaigns manager, said in a statement to NBC News. 

These proposed price hikes come at a time when the overall percentage of lawful immigrants living in the country that are willfully applying for and gaining citizenship has reached its highest level in more than 20 years. That can’t be said for Mexican Americans who fall behind other groups when it comes to naturalization rates. This is also despite being the biggest group of lawful immigrants in terms of country of origin. 

“This is one more way under the administration that they are making legal immigration unattainable,” Ur Jaddou, former chief counsel at USCIS under the Obama administration, told Buzzfeed News.

Advocacy groups call the price hikes an attempt to further hurt those with already limited resources.  

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Boundless, an immigration services firm, called the proposed price hike another blow to immigrants trying to come into the U.S. The firm says that increased fees target the poor and those in vulnerable positions by pricing them out of citizenship.

“Once again, this administration is attempting to use every tool at its disposal to restrict legal immigration and even U.S. citizenship,” said Doug Rand, the group’s co-founder, told the Washington Post .“It’s an unprecedented weaponization of government fees.”

READ: Mexico Has Made It Illegal To Buy And Sell Moss: What Will Your Tías Use For Their Nacimientos Now?

Another Member Of The US Military Has Been Arrested For Smuggling Undocumented People Across The Border

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Another Member Of The US Military Has Been Arrested For Smuggling Undocumented People Across The Border

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The U.S. military is going through a serious rough patch. Not only are they have issues recruiting new service members, but they’re also having problems retaining mental health workers, which is a really big deal because they help the people already inlisted. Now we’re seeing the ramifications of that.  Just this week a U.S. Navy sailor shot and killed two people at Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor military installation. The Navy sailor went on to kill himself. It all happened in the same week as the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, which the celebration is supposed to take place this Saturday. The issues the military is facing is not combatting depression and other mental health problems within their units, but some ethical ones that go completely against what the country stands for. 

On December 2, U.S. marine was charged for smuggling undocumented people across the border near San Diego, California.

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“On December 2, 2019, at approximately 1:30 a.m., a junior-enlisted Marine with Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division was taken into custody by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel for allegedly bringing in undocumented immigrants at the San Ysidro port of entry,” the Marine Corps said in a statement, according to ABC News. “The Marine is currently being held in civilian custody. The determination as to the adjudicating authority has not yet been made.”

The 20-year-old Marine has not been publically named, but the news station adds that they were not part of the “Trump administration’s southwest border support mission.”

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Additional reports say the Marine was pulled over in a 2007 Ford Mustang for “additional screening.” That is when border officials found two Chinese women in his trunk. 

“The Marine is currently being held in civilian custody,” Marine spokesman Lt. Cameron Edinburgh said in a statement to Fox News. “The determination as to the adjudicating authority has not yet been made.”

This latest charge comes on the heels of a slew of other military officials who have also arrested on similar smuggling charges.

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Just this summer, 19 Marines were arrested for various offenses. ABC News reports that the Marines were allegedly involved “in activities ranging from human smuggling to drug-related offenses.” All of the Marines involved in this case were stationed at Camp Pendleton in San Diego. The number of marines involved in this case gradually increased from 16 to 19.

“1st Marine Division is committed to justice and the rule of law, and we will continue to fully cooperate with NCIS on this matter,” the statement said, according to the network. “Any Marines found to be in connection with these alleged activities will be questioned and handled accordingly with respect to due process.”

According to Stripes.com, the Marines were all arrested in front of their peers during their morning formation and that was done purposely to make an example out of them. 

“It was a public display for the entire unit to see,” 1st Marine Division Spokesman 1st Lt. Cameron Edinburgh told the online news site. 

As for the reason to not disclose the names of the Marines arrested, Marine Maj. Kendra Motz said that is because “Out of respect for the privacy of the implicated Marines,” and added, “we will not release names or other identifying information until charges are announced.” Six out of those marines arrested have already pleaded guilty to human trafficking and drug charges. 

In related news, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced that detainments at the border continue to decrease.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Mark Morgan said last month that in October, the trend of a decline of detainments at the border continues to show a decline. 

“The numbers show this administration has and continues to take bold action to address this crisis,” Morgan said, according to The Texan news. 

In May, however, it was a whole different story.  Back then, border officials said they saw 144,000 detainments in one month alone. From then until October, there has been a 70 percent. 

It’s certainly an odd predicament that the government and the military are facing because on the one hand detainments at the border are going down, which speaks positively of their security tactics. Yet, on the other hand, their own military workforce looks to be in quite the dilemma going against their own principals. 

READ: CBP Arrests A 16-Year-Old After Catching Them Using A Remote Control Car To Smuggling Drugs Across The Border

Fort Worth Teacher Wins Appeal To Get Job Back After Tweeting Trump To ‘Remove’ Undocumented Students

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Fort Worth Teacher Wins Appeal To Get Job Back After Tweeting Trump To ‘Remove’ Undocumented Students

Fort Worth ISD

In the past couple of years, we’ve seen several instances in which school staff made racist comments either toward students or behaved in a discriminatory manner on the school campus. Typically, not much is done about it. In some cases, the school will conduct an investigation, a teacher may be perhaps suspended for a day or so, but for the most part, it is back to business as usual. The students affected by their racist words and behavior must continue to be taught by them or abide by their authority. It’s an unjust situation. But at least one school district did fight back against a racist teacher and will continue to do so. Here’s how it all went down. 

A teacher in Texas was fired after she made public statements on Twitter that she wanted to report undocumented students at her school.

Credit: @Rebecca1939 / Twitter

The incident in question happened in May in which Georgia Clark, a then English teacher in Fort Worth, Texas, tweeted directly at President Donald Trump that she not only wanted to report undocumented students but also requested assistance to combat the undocumented community in the area. 

“Mr. President, Fort Worth Independent School District, is loaded with illegal students from Mexico,” Clark tweeted back on May 17, 2018. “Anything you can do to remove the illegals from Fort Worth would be greatly appreciated.” Her account has since been deleted but the screenshots remain forever.”

Clark sent the tweets to the President, but she believed her tweets her private messages. Her comments were indeed public, and that’s how the entire school and community were made aware of her remarks.

Credit: @_SJPeace_ / Twitter

While the school board members voted unanimously to fire Clark this spring, she fought back and appealed her case. Now a Texas commissioner has ruled that the school district either gives her back her job or pays her a year’s worth of her salary. 

“The day the petitioner would have been reinstated is the day respondent tenders petitioner payment in full,” the commissioner of the Texas Education Agency, Mike Morath, wrote in the ruling, according to the New York Times

An independent examiner also reported that Clark’s series of tweets to the President was a form of “free speech.”

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“Clark’s tweets are statements of a citizen on a matter of public concern protected by the United States Constitution and do not contravene or impair policies or proper performance of the district’s functions,” the report said, according to the Times

Despite the fact that the report’s finding’s that her tweets were considered “free speech,” what type of parent would want Clark teaching students who are undeniably discriminatory against Latino kids? 

“I’m very surprised and concerned that this cruel woman has been berating our precious children for years,” a woman earlier this year, according to the Washington Post

“Her comments were hurtful, irresponsible, misleading, and distrustful to the students she is supposed to protect and educate,” another woman said to the board in June.

The school district said they stand by their decision to fire Clark and will appeal to the commissioner’s ruling.

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“The Commissioner’s decision was not based on the merits of the case but rather a procedural technicality with which the District does not agree,” the school district said in a statement. “Mr. Morath said, in his ruling, that the board did not adopt a finding that good cause exists to terminate Ms. Clark’s contract. Yet, the Board of Trustees did, in fact, do just that in its decision on September 17. Accordingly, the Fort Worth ISD will appeal this decision and will do so in the next 20 days.” Furthermore, Superintendent Kent P. Scribner said: “We stand by our decision because we firmly believe this is in the best interests of all students.”

Clark said she wants her job back, and that she can still be a good teacher despite her political point of view.

In an interview with WFAA, Clark was asked how she would be able to do her job properly and teach Latino students. To that, she responded by saying, “If you need someone to help your child graduate, you’re looking at her right here.”

What do you think? Should Clark return to her job or should the school district pay her a year’s worth of her salary?

READ: This Texas Teacher Thought She Was Private Messaging Trump About ‘Illegal’ Students And It Got Her Fired And People Are Laughing Way Out Loud