Fee hikes

Understanding the Implications of Immigration Fee Hikes: A Legal Perspective

In a recent ruling that caught the attention of many within the immigration law community, a Colorado federal judge has decided against halting the impending increase in immigration fees. This decision underscores the complexities surrounding the financial aspects of immigration processes, particularly for EB-5 investors. U.S. District Judge Charlotte N. Sweeney's ruling against Samantha Moody's request to temporarily block the fee increases sheds light on the judicial perspective regarding the balance between investment magnitudes and fee adjustments.

Samantha Moody, an EB-5 investor, along with the American Immigrant Investor Alliance and the IT Service Alliance, challenged the fee hikes, arguing that the $5,775 increase is unjustifiable, especially considering the significant capital investments already made by investors like her. Judge Sweeney's decision was grounded in the comparison between the fee increase and Moody's $500,000 investment, suggesting that the increase, while substantial, does not constitute significant enough harm to warrant a temporary restraining order.

This ruling brings to the fore the criterion for irreparable harm in legal disputes over fee adjustments, highlighting the need for plaintiffs to demonstrate that the harm from fee increases is both certain and significant. The judge also considered the timeliness of the lawsuit and Moody's delay in filing the suit nearly two months after the rule was finalized, which impacted the judge's decision against granting the temporary restraining order.

The lawsuit raised critical questions about the Administrative Procedure Act, particularly the lack of public data to substantiate the government's fee calculations and the rationale behind using gross income to calculate new fees intended to fund the asylum system. These aspects are crucial for immigration attorneys and their clients, as they navigate the legal and financial intricacies of the immigration process.

The fee hikes, which represent the first update since 2016, have sparked a debate within the business and legal communities, especially amidst ongoing labor shortages. The opposition to the fee increases is not about the imposition of fees per se but rather how these fees are introduced and justified under the law. This situation highlights the importance of transparency and adherence to legal procedures in the implementation of government policies, particularly those affecting a wide range of stakeholders in the immigration ecosystem.

For EB-5 investors and other individuals navigating the U.S. immigration system, this development emphasizes the importance of staying informed about legal and policy changes that could impact their immigration journey. Immigration attorneys play a critical role in this context, offering guidance and advocacy to ensure that their client's rights are protected and that the immigration process remains fair and transparent.

As the legal battles over immigration fee hikes continue, it is crucial for all parties involved to engage in constructive dialogue and seek solutions that balance the need for adequate funding of immigration services with the rights and interests of immigrants and their sponsors. The outcome of cases like Moody's not only affects the individuals directly involved but also sets precedents that could influence the broader immigration policy landscape.

In conclusion, the refusal to halt immigration fee hikes presents a complex scenario for immigrants, legal professionals, and policymakers alike. It highlights the ongoing challenges in balancing regulatory requirements with the needs and rights of immigrants, underscoring the need for a transparent, fair, and legally sound approach to immigration policy and fee structures.


Eakin, Britain. "Judge Won't Stop Immigration Fee Hikes From Taking Effect." Law360, March 29, 2024.

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