The U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) has once again proposed substantial increases to the fees required to access historical records held by the USCIS Genealogy Program. This would raise the cost for access to millions of historic immigration records by hundreds of dollars, providing further barriers to researchers.
In 2020, USCIS lost an attempt to hike fees to access these same records after a huge public outcry. Genealogists and other researchers find the situation especially galling since many of these records should already be publicly and readily available at the National Archives.
The deadline to speak out on the proposed hikes is Monday, March 6. The group Records Not Revenue provides detailed information about the situation and clear instructions for submitting a public comment to USCIS and to your Congressional representatives. (You do not need to be a US resident nor citizen to submit a public comment; any interested party may comment.) Visit their website at: https://www.recordsnotrevenue.com/
Next week, on Wednesday, Feb. 22, The National Genealogical Society hosts a Zoom discussion on “Why the USCIS Fee Increases Matter.” All are welcome to attend.