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‘Simply barbaric’: Trump administration proposes charging asylum fee for refugees fleeing violence and poverty

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“It’s an unprecedented weaponization of government fees.”

The Trump administration this coming week will formalize a proposal that could make it one of just four countries in the world that charge asylum-seekers for entry.

As the New York Times reported late Friday, the administration plans to publish in the Federal Register a proposal to require a $50 application fee for asylum-seekers as well as a $490 charge for work permits.

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“It’s an unprecedented weaponization of government fees,” Doug Rand of the immigrant assistance company Boundless Immigration told the Times.

Currently, the only countries in the world that charge asylum-seekers—who are often fleeing war, persecution, or violence in their home countries—are Iran, Fiji, and Australia.

Also included in the plan, proposed on Friday by Ken Cuccinnelli, head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), were significant increases in fees for renewal of DACA protections and citizenship.

Young people protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which is the subject of a Supreme Court case beginning Tuesday, will be required to pay $765 for renewal rather than $495.

Citizenship fees could go up 60 percent, from $725 to $1,170.

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Cuccinnelli claimed Friday that the charges are needed to help confront his agencies $1.3 billion deficit. By contrast, the total U.S. deficit approached $1 trillion in 2019 under President Donald Trump—yet the president has requested more spending on the military and his proposed border wall.

The immigrant rights group United We Dream denounced the plan to impose financial burdens of young undocumented immigrants and asylum-seekers as “outrageous.”

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“Charging an asylum application fee is simply barbaric,” added Daniel Altschuler of Make the Road Action.

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Matthew Soerens of the faith-based refugee aid group tweeted that if Cuccinnelli’s proposal goes into effect, the fee for U.S. citizenship will have gone up by more than $1,000 in two decades.

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The newly proposed fee “will actually be even more than $1,170, presuming that does not include a required biometrics fee,” Soerens added. “And none of these prices include paying an attorney, which can be thousands of dollars in some cases.”

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What would Russia prefer to happen in the UK election?

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The UK election comes against the background of one of the worst periods in Russian-British relations since the end of the Cold War. Badly shaken by the 2006 poisoning of the former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London, relations spiralled further down in the aftermath of Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014. The poisoning of another former spy, Sergei Skripal, in March 2018 in Salisbury then killed off any hopes of a recovery in bilateral relations.

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Why White Island erupted and why there was no warning

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Five people have been confirmed dead, 18 have been rescued and are injured, some seriously, and several remain unaccounted for after a sudden volcanic eruption on Whakaari/White Island off the east coast of New Zealand.

The island is a tourist destination and around 50 people were on it when it erupted on Monday afternoon. Volcanologists at GeoNet, which operates a geological hazard monitoring system, described the eruption as impulsive and short-lived, with an ash plume that rose to more than three kilometres above the vent.

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‘Pathetic weenie’ Ted Cruz buried by Morning Joe’s Donny Deutsch for latest suck-up to Trump

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Members of the "Morning Joe " panel were both appalled and disgusted after watching a video of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) pushing Russian propaganda and defending Donald Trump over the weekend, recalling the ugly campaign the president ran against the Texas Republican in 2016.

Addressing Cruz's appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," where he accused Ukraine of meddling in the 2016 election, host Joe Scarborough marveled out at how the senator debased himself in the service of Trump after what happened to him in 2016.

After the host brought up the interview, MSNBC regular Donny Deutsch had a few things to say about Cruz.

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