Our Records Are At Risk!
by Linda Okazaki
By now you’ve likely seen the flurry of information about USCIS. Our records are at risk! RecordsNotRevenue is a grass roots campaign trying to stop the potential 492% increase at USCIS. If the fee hike passes, our records will be virtually inaccessible due to cost. These include A-files, C-files, Registry files, Visa files, and Alien Registration forms. And if these records are inaccessible, what’s next?
For anyone researching late 19th and 20th century immigrants, this is a HUGE roadblock. This impacts all of you researching Asians (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Indian, etc.) who immigrated during this time frame, Italian Americans seeking dual citizenship, Jewish Americans, Mexican Americans, War Brides, immigrants who were interned during WWII (Japanese, Germans, Italians), and others.
This is personal for me. My husband’s immigrant grandfather was incarcerated during WWII at Tuna Canyon, Lorsdburg New Mexico, Santa Fe New Mexico, and Crystal City Texas. His A-file was hundreds of pages long. Fortunately, I ordered his A-file a number of years ago. Last January, I had the opportunity to speak with Marian Smith. She advised me that my husband also had an A-file! What a surprise. It cost me $65, but if the fee increase is approved, it would become cost prohibitive.
I urge you to share this information with as many people as you know. Encourage them to post their comments to the USCIS portal NO LATER THAN DECEMBER 16. Please contact your senators and representatives, as well. We’ve only got 10 days left to comment.
The Washington Post published an article on this matter just yesterday, as did the board of directors at the Nichi Bei Foundation (Nichi Bei Weekly 5 December 2019).
The Nichi Bei Foundation, the National Japanese American Historical Society and the California Genealogical Society oppose this price increase.