City of Seattle and Partners Win Nationwide Injunction to Temporarily Halt Trump Administration’s Changes to ‘Fee Waiver’ Rule

Seattle (December 9, 2019) – The United States District Court for the Northern District of California today issued a ruling in support of the City of Seattle’s request for an injunction to temporarily block the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) changes to the fee waiver rule.

Mayor Jenny A. Durkan and OneAmerica Executive Director Rich Stolz issued the following statements in support of the injunction:

“I am glad that the Court recognizes the urgent need to block this “pay-to-play” approach to citizenship from being enforced. Wealth is not, and should never be, a requirement of becoming an American citizen,” said Mayor Durkan. “We demand this administration be accountable to our communities and maintain the current fee waiver process. I am grateful to Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes for ensuring our City protects the rights and freedoms of our communities. Immigrants and refugees are part of Seattle’s heritage, and they will continue to make us the city of the future.”

“Today’s decision by the Court will keep a pathway to the dream of citizenship available to everyone, including our elderly, disabled or low-income community members. As an organization that supports people in the often complex and expensive process to naturalize, we know it’s important to remove as many barriers as possible so we can all experience the benefits of citizenship, which include higher incomes, greater family stability and the right to vote,” said Rich Stolz. “While the Trump administration is busy dividing us by scapegoating immigrants and creating as many physical, procedural and financial ‘walls’ to the American Dream as possible, we will work just as hard to tear them down for the benefit of our communities. Today is a step in the right direction – towards justice for all.”

In late October, the City of Seattle, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Catholic Immigration Legal Network, Self-Help for the Elderly, OneAmerica, and Central American Resource Center of California with Protect Democracy, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC, and Mayer Brown LLP filed a lawsuit against DHS for its changes to the naturalization fee waiver process. The Trump administration’s changes will disproportionately impact low-income residents seeking to become United States citizens.

More information on the successful injunction can be found at the Protect Democracy website: https://protectdemocracy.org/update/breaking-judge-bars-dhs-from-implementing-unlawful-changes-to-fees-for-citizenship/