Impending USCIS Staff Furloughs Would Bring Immigration to a Halt

Multiple policies of this administration, including many implemented since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, have slashed the ability of noncitizens from abroad to enter the U.S..  This includes refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants who are immediate family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents, whose employers have petitioned for their residency, those selected in the annual diversity lottery, as well as many nonimmigrant foreign workers and students.

Now, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services  (USCIS) is threatening to furlough about two-thirds, or over 13,000, of its employees, claiming COVID-19 related revenue shortfalls.  (The majority of USCIS’s funding comes from fees paid by individuals and business paying for applications and petitions they file with the agency.) USCIS says it needs $1.2 billion from Congress to prevent the furloughs.

An interview in Forbes provides detailed insight into how these furloughs would bring adjudications to a halt, preventing hundreds of thousands of U.S. citizens and permanent residents from initiating the immigration process for their immediate family members, employers from petitioning for valued employees, and individuals from getting their work permits, permanent residency, or citizenship, among many other types of applications.

An example of the inefficiencies that have led USCIS to this point can be found here.   For more details on how USCIS has gotten to this point, and how these furloughts, if they occur, will effectively block what little of our immigration is still function, you can read the Forbes article here.