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Legal Aid Society starts GoFundMe campaign to help immigrant families pay filing fees

September 6, 2018 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
As of publication of this article, the Legal Aid Society has raised $5,861 to help families pay for filing fees on immigration applications. Screenshot of courtesy of the Legal Aid Society
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The Legal Aid Society announced yesterday that it has created a GoFundMe campaign to help immigrant families afford certain filing fees on immigration applications that average about $750 per person.

Previously there was a fee waiver for low-income immigrants, but the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) has begun a practice of regularly denying waiver requests, even in cases of victims fleeing domestic violence.

“These application fees come at an enormous price, which for many of our clients is simply insurmountable,” said Hasan Shafiqullah, attorney-in-charge of the Immigration Law Unit at the Legal Aid Society. “The hurdles are even more daunting now that USCIS has begun to indiscriminately reject fee waiver requests, putting many of our clients at immediate risk. Supporting this campaign will help us fight unlawful deportation, unjust detention and to keep families together.”

Most of the filing fees cannot be waived, such as the $1,760 fee for a green card, the $725 fee for citizenship, the $540 fee to renew a green card and the $930 fee for a victim of a violent crime to seek relief. Legal Aid expects the government to issue new rules in the near future that will make it harder for any financial relief.

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Legal Aid helps immigrant families with their fees when possible. The GoFundMe has raised $5,861 of its $25,000 goal as of Thursday afternoon. Forty-one people have donated in 16 days. Legal Aid expects that it could help up to 35 families if it reaches its goal.


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