Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Records, Not Revenue: We Need Your Help

The USCIS Genealogy Program holds many historical records, including US immigrant A-Files and C-Files.  These can be a treasure trove of information for genealogists, sometimes including original birth certificates, photos, and more.  (To get an idea of the types of information you can get, you can see what I received for my grandfather here and here, as well as my grandmother here and here.)

The program has always been slow to respond (it took 16 months to get my grandmother's A-File, and that was with me sending regular pings) and not inexpensive.  Back in 2020, USCIS tried to raise the already high rates by an exorbitant amount, and thankfully that request was denied.  But they are trying again.  And we need your help to stop this 269% (yes, 269%!!) fee hike from happening.

(And besides, many of these records should already be publicly and readily available at the National Archives, without having to deal with the bottleneck and transparency-free entity that is the USCIS Genealogy Program.) 



Before this fee increase would become effective, the public can comment.  And that's where you come in.  We were able to come together and stop the 2020 proposed increase.  Let's do it again.  And Records, Not Revenue has made it easy to help you weigh in on this matter.

Records, Not Revenue has put together all of the information you need at https://www.recordsnotrevenue.com/.  There are also comments starters to help you identify your care-abouts to help you craft your comments, available at https://www.recordsnotrevenue.com/comment-starters.  Make sure to cite the DHS Docket citation given on that page in your comment to make it even more powerful.  The deadline to submit comments is March 6, so get your comments in quickly!  And once you've submitted your comment, send a copy to your Senators and Representative.

Thank you for making a difference for all of us who want reasonably priced accessibility to our ancestors' records.  It should be about records.  Not revenue.

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  1. I actually found photograph searching in
    Immigration records.

  2. Would it help to have a Canadian comment? I'm certainly willing, but just want to make sure it would have an effect.

    1. It can't hurt! Some Canadians would want to request these records as well.