US immigration services set to furlough two-thirds of its workers after coronavirus stimulus talks fail

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services notified about 13,400 of its 20,000 employees that they would be furloughed Aug. 30 because of budget shortfalls, which the agency hoped Congress would fill in its next relief package before negotiations stalled last week. 

“In the past few months, USCIS has taken action to avert a fiscal crisis, including limiting spending to salary and mission-critical activities,” an agency spokesperson said. “Without congressional intervention, USCIS will have to take drastic actions to keep the agency solvent.” 

The agency had asked Congress for $1.2 billion, and the money had been expected to come through its next coronavirus relief package.

Potential Impact of Furloughs on the U.S. Legal Immigration System

  • The anticipated agency furloughs will halt U.S. immigration, negatively impacting families, U.S. businesses, educational institutions, medical facilities, and churches.
  • If USCIS is essentially shut down, immigrants who are in the process of becoming naturalized U.S. citizens will not be able to complete the process in time to register to vote, DACA recipients will not be able to renew their benefits, asylum applicants will face increased delays, and businesses will be unable to hire or retain employees.
  • According to the Migration Policy Institute, “For each month the USCIS furlough lasts, 75,000 applications for various immigration benefits will not be processed.”

With information of AILA and USA Today