U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has asked Congress for $1.2 billion to avoid having to furlough more than 13,000 employees next month. CNN cited that the agency, which helps individuals obtain visas, green cards, and citizenship, would likely experience a slow in operations if it doesn’t receive the financial help it needs. The agency, which operates off of the fees it collects, says “it’s in the hole after having to close offices and put services on pause during the pandemic.”
The news source says that USCIS has already sent out notices to about 13,400 of the 20,000 people who are employed by the agency. The notices read, “I regret to inform you that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will furlough you for more than 30 continuous calendar days, in a non-duty and non-pay status, for fewer than 90 days, beginning August 3, 2020.” These notices were sent out on June 29th.
CNN says that a spokesperson for USCIS contacted Congress in May to inform it of “its projected budget shortfall and proposed that USCIS pay the money back to the U.S. Treasury by adding a 10% surcharge to applications.” The Office of Management and Budget issued a statement to CNN acknowledging that the Administration “has formally requested the resources necessary to keep USCIS running.” The agency hopes that “Congressional Democrats [will] accept [their] proposal to keep the lights on in a responsible manner.”
The Pandemic Isn’t the Only Reason the Agency is Experiencing a Budget Shortfall
CNN says that although the pandemic has played a significant role in USCIS’s budget shortfall, it isn’t the only factor at play. Michael Knowles, who is the president of the American Federation of Government Employees that represents Washington, DC, area employees says “COVID-19 has been an aggravating factor,” however, “the incoming fees have gone down with the restrictionist immigration policies the Trump administration has implemented.”
Knowles also stated that “It’s not in our national interest to let the immigration service fail. You need a functioning immigration service.” He added, “The damage would be long-lasting.”
Unless Congress can provide the agency with the money it needs to continue its operations as is, it appears several USCIS employees will soon be out of work which will, in turn, slow all operations down.
Do you need to apply for or renew a visa or green card?
If you live in Texas and need to apply for or renew a visa or green card, now is the time to do it. The Texas immigration attorneys at the Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen would be happy to help you gather all the paperwork you will need and can even help you fill it out to ensure it is free from any mistakes. In the event you need help with a different immigration-related matter, the TX immigration attorneys at the Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen would be happy to assist you with this as well.
You can reach the Law Office of J. Joseph Cohen at:
310 South St. Mary’s Street, Suite 2100
San Antonio, Texas 78205