Alejandro Mayorkas, the new director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said recently that the agency has received a significantly lower number of applications lately and that the resulting decline in revenue could lead to higher application fees. At a press conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 24, 2009, Mr. Mayorkas said there is a $118 million budget shortfall and that he has asked for help from Congress. Further, he said “The potential fee increase is not something that is taken lightly. We understand very well its impact upon the community. In my personal view, it would be something of [a] last resort.”

Mary Giovagnoli, director of the Immigration Policy Center, noted that an increase in fees could result in even fewer applicants. “Congress has been really reluctant to revisit this whole idea that we shouldn’t be trying to finance our immigration system basically solely on the backs of applicants. I think the agency and the applicants are both kind of caught between a rock and [a] hard place.” Seyfarth Immigration Partner Angelo Paparelli offers his views on ways the agency can reduce operating expenses without imposing new fees in a recent blog posting: “Follow the Immigration Money.”