An article published in the Houston Chronicle quotes USCIS Director, Alejandro Mayorkas, saying that fee increases are “probable” in 2010 due to a steep drop off in revenue last year.

The agency also is reviewing possible cost-cutting measures, including layoffs, Mayorkas said, adding that those, too, would be considered a last resort. “Our overhead, our costs, need to be reduced,” he said. “There exists the possibility that we may have to seek a fee increase. We’re considering all the options.”

“We are very mindful of the fact that two years ago, fees were increased dramatically,” Mayorkas said, adding that he is aware that the fees can be “difficult to bear” for many immigration applicants. Mayorkas added that since the last fee hike was implemented, the agency significantly reduced application processing times, a frequent point of criticism. The agency is now processing naturalization applications within five months nationally.

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