There are more than 183,000 DACA recipients here in California. These are individuals who were brought to the U.S. as young children and are now protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program. Collectively, they pay $2 billion in federal taxes plus about $977.5 million in state and local taxes.

They also need to renew their DACA every two years, but are now facing a troubling new reality: a huge fee increase.

A 55% increase to the renewal fee

In the final months of 2019, the current White House administration’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) proposed a long list of changes to immigration fees. Included on this list is a big increase to the DACA renewal fee.

Currently, a DACA renewal costs $495. Under the proposed new rules, it would increase to $765. That’s a rise of 55%.

For many immigrants, the current cost is already expensive. This type of significant increase could make it even harder for some DACA recipients to ensure the protections offered by the program.

Other immigration fees may also increase

The cost for a DACA renewal is not the only fee that may increase. Here are a few of the proposed changes:

  • Citizenship fees, in totality, could go from $640 to $1,170
  • Fees for marriage-based green cards may go up from $1,760 to $2,750
  • Those seeking asylum may need to pay a $50 fee

USCIS accepted public comments on these plans through Feb. 10, 2020. The department is now reviewing those comments and is expected to make the fee changes official afterward. The exact date that might happen is unknown.

The United States’ immigration system is already difficult to navigate. There are many rules, laws and forms, and the government can change these things at any time. It’s important to make sure you understand which policies apply to you and what you need to do.