Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa Bay news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Charlotte news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

The Department of Homeland Security's seal. Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced on Friday plans to hike fees for multiple immigration and work visa applications, including a more than 80% increase on naturalization applications and a new fee for asylum applicants.

Why it matters: The adjusted costs, which take effect Oct. 2, may deter low-income immigrants from pursuing citizenship and could prevent those seeking refuge in the U.S. from applying for asylum. The shifts come as USCIS is facing COVID-19-related budget shortfalls.

Details: With the new $50 fee for asylum applications, the U.S. will become the fourth country in the world to charge a fee for humanitarian protections. Only Iran, Fiji and Australia have such applications fees, according to the Wall Street Journal.

  • The agency will increase the cost of naturalization applications from $640 to $1,170, though it will give a $10 discount to applicants who submit forms online, according to the Department of Homeland Security's final ruling on the fee increases.
  • USCIS, which oversees the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, removed a proposed $275 renewal fee for DACA recipients.

What they're saying: “USCIS is required to examine incoming and outgoing expenditures and make adjustments based on that analysis,” said Joseph Edlow, USCIS deputy director for policy.

  • The Department of Homeland Security said in its final ruling that "it does not intend to discourage naturalization and is not motivated by any consideration other than achieving full cost recovery while emphasizing the beneficiary-pays principle in establishing these fees."

The big picture: Unlike most government agencies, USCIS is fee-funded. Money collected and deposited into the Immigration Examinations Fee Account fund makes up nearly 97% of USCIS’ budget.

Go deeper

New state unemployment filings fall to 787,000

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

First-time applications for unemployment fell last week, according to Department of Labor data released on Thursday.

Between the lines: The overall number of Americans relying on unemployment also fell to a still-staggering 23 million. But there are continued signs of labor market strain, with more people shifting to an unemployment program designed for the long-term jobless.

Stalemate over filibuster freezes Congress

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell's inability to quickly strike a deal on a power-sharing agreement in the new 50-50 Congress is slowing down everything from the confirmation of President Biden's nominees to Donald Trump's impeachment trial.

Why it matters: Whatever final stance Schumer takes on the stalemate, which largely comes down to Democrats wanting to use the legislative filibuster as leverage over Republicans, will be a signal of the level of hardball we should expect Democrats to play with Republicans in the new Senate.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Biden opts for five-year extension of New START nuclear treaty with Russia

Putin at a military parade. Photo: Valya Egorshin/NurPhoto via Getty

President Biden will seek a five-year extension of the New START nuclear arms control pact with Russia before it expires on Feb. 5, senior officials told the Washington Post.

Why it matters: The 2010 treaty is the last remaining constraint on the arsenals of the world's two nuclear superpowers, limiting the number of deployed nuclear warheads and the bombers, missiles and submarines which can deliver them.