The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is blaming the coronavirus pandemic for a massive drop in the agency’s revenues, and the blame seems correctly placed. The USCIS is one of the few federal agencies that is funded almost entirely by fees instead of taxpayer dollars. Whenever an immigration applicant pays a fee, whether they are applying for a visa or fighting deportation, the USCIS gets paid and funded. Since international travel has been tightly restricted due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure, the USCIS’s funding has slowed dramatically.
Earlier in the month, the USCIS announced it would need to furlough at least 1,000 workers to stay financially afloat. The amount soon spiked to about 13,000 furloughs by the end of July, but Democratic senators pleaded with the agency to reconsider and postpone however possible. This week, the USCIS agreed not to furlough any workers until the end of August. In the meantime, the USCIS will be working with congressional representatives for a bailout plan that could cancel all proposed furloughs if it is approved in time.
Massive USCIS Furloughs Will Hurt Immigrants Everywhere
If 13,000 USCIS employees are furloughed, then it will certainly have a dramatic impact on immigration processes of all sorts. Immigrants who want to enter or remain in the country and need the USCIS to approve a petition or application could have their cases significantly delayed. For immigrants facing removal or deportation, the lack of available USCIS support could be devastating, to say the least.
It is more important than ever before for immigrants and their family or employer sponsors to use the services of an immigration attorney. With the USCIS on the brink of massive furloughs, it is crucial that all petitions and applications are filed correctly and punctually. A single mistake could cause a form to be rejected or denied, and result in multi-month delays – or longer.
To learn more about the pending USCIS furloughs, you can click here for a full article from CNN Politics. To get help with an immigration case in Omaha, Nebraska, you can call (402) 810-8611 and connect with our attorneys from Carlson & Burnett. Please contact us as soon as possible to have the best chance of avoiding complications caused by USCIS furloughs.