You have all likely seen some mention of an outrageous proposed fee increase by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).  Essentially what they are proposing for fees are:  raising the search fee 269% from $65 to $240 and the cost of the actual file 481% from $65 to $385.

If you had relatives who immigrated to the United States in the 20th century, USCIS is the place to order the above records.

USCIS has provided an opportunity for the genealogical community to comment on this proposed Rule that dramatically impacts the USCIS Genealogy Records Program.  In coordination with the leadership of other organizations in our community, we want to encourage our members to make their voices heard and express your concern with this outrageous proposal.

The Records Preservation and Access Committee (RPAC) is sending in a letter outlining some of our objections. Your help is needed! If you are interested in having your society sign-on, please send your societies’ name, city and state with number of members in your organization before December 22 to the NGS Executive Director Matt Menashes at mattm@ngsgenealogy.org  

If you would like to read the proposed rule,  see:

https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-11-14/pdf/2019-24366.pdf

The Genealogy section is Section N which starts on page 62315-62316.

See Section 103.40 for Genealogical Research Requests on page 62359.

The Washington Post had an article on the proposed fee increases last Thursday which may be read at:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2019/12/05/genealogy-boom-has-hit-roadblock-trump-administration-plans-huge-fee-hikes-immigration-records/ .  

Additional background may also be found at https://www.recordsnotrevenue.com/

We strongly urge our society members to support this RPAC sign-on process. We also encourage the individual members of your societies to get behind this process and let USCIS and your local representatives know that you object to this unsupportable, exorbitant charge for access to value genealogical documentation.  

Updated  3 February 2020

The Genealogical Community Responds to Excessive Fee Increases at USCIS  —

Led by the member organizations of RPAC and Rich Venezia who initiated RecordsNotRevenue.com, RPAC sent a statement opposing the excessive increases to USCIS on 28 December 2019 which was signed by 146 genealogical organizations representing 333,034 members located in twenty-eight states and Washington, DC.   The  letter was the most overwhelming response by the genealogical community in the United States to date and would have been even greater if the deadline for responses had not occurred during the holiday season. 

The RPAC letter can be viewed at https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=USCIS-2019-0010-7869.

The submission by Rich Venezia can be viewed at  https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=USCIS-2019-0010-9888 . 

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