July 09, 2020
USCIS Prepares to Furlough Thousands of Workers
USCIS has notified approximately 13,400 of its employees that they will be administratively furloughed when the agency’s funding runs out around August 3, 2020. Although USCIS is a fee-funded agency, multiple news agencies have reported that frequent policy changes, suspension of income-generating immigration programs, and the agency’s focus on vetting and enforcement have caused the budget crisis.
USCIS announced in May 2020 that emergency funding of $1.2B would be needed to continue operations. However, President Trump’s administration has yet to file a formal budget request with the Office of Management and Budget which would inform Congress of the funds needed to prevent furloughs. Therefore, it is unclear if supplemental funding will be approved before furloughs are implemented. If supplemental funding is approved before August 3rd, it is possible that the furloughs may be averted.
Although the agency will continue to accept filings while the employees are furloughed, we anticipate that once the furloughs are implemented, processing times for petitions and applications pending with USCIS will increase substantially. These delays will be complicated by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as most foreign workers will not be able to travel abroad to take advantage of faster processing times at U.S. Consular Posts and Embassies.
Our law firm is monitoring the situation closely and will provide additional updates as they become available. If you have questions, please contact our office.