USCIS cancels planned massive furloughs

U.S. CITIZENSHIP AND Immigration Services said Tuesday that it has halted plans to furlough 70% of its workforce on Sunday, saving some 13,400 employees from temporary layoff and averting a near-total shut down of the legal immigration system.

The agency warned, however, that furloughs could still take place in the future unless Congress acts to stabilize USCIS’s finances.

USCIS is the government agency responsible for processing and adjudicating applications for visas, green cards, citizenship and other immigration benefits. The planned furloughs were expected to dramatically diminish the agency’s ability to process immigration applications, all but grinding the legal immgiration system to a halt.

The announcement comes after lawmakers on both sides of the aisle pressured the agency to abandon its plans for the furloughs, arguing that the temporary layoffs were not financially necessary and would have a devastating human toll.

The House on Saturday unanimously passed an emergency stopgap measure aimed at increasing USCIS’s revenue and prompting the Trump administration to cancel the furloughs.

The agency said in a press release that it will take “aggressive spending reduction measures” but expects to maintain operations through the end fiscal 2020, which runs through Sept. 30. The cost-savings measures target federal contracts and will result in delays in application processing and case adjudication, the agency said.

By US News