Originally filed in 2007, the suit alleges that immigrants applying to the US government for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), have been illegally charged for biometric information, which is fingerprints, an electronic signature, and a photograph. The TPS applies to non-Americans who are unable to return to the country of origin due to armed conflict or natural disasters. The fees the US government were charging for registration or re-registration of TPS are in addition to the $50 registration fee.
The class certification order is relevant for immigrants from El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaragua who applied to register or re-register for TPS since August 16, 2001. Since that time, the biometrics fee has risen from $25 to $80. The legal counsel representing the plaintiffs estimate that as many as 400,000 immigrants may have been overcharged as much as $100 million.
The plaintiffs are seeking a ruling that will effectively declare any fees charged in excess of the $50 registration fee to be illegal, and that refunds be made to those who have paid those additional fees.