The Migration Policy Institute recently issued a report on how the anticipated USCIS furlough of more the 70% of its workers, scheduled to commence August 30, 2020, will impact current immigration processing. (See Impending USCIS Furloughs Will Contribute to Historic Drop in US Immigration Levels). 

The Background. Late in July, USCIS agreed to postpone the furloughs of more than 13,000 USCIS employees from August 3 until August 31. The $1.2 billion emergency funding request made by USCIS to Congress in May 2020 was to sustain the agency through the end of the calendar year (December 2020), not just the fiscal year (October 2020). USCIS based their request on the extremely low receipts they received at the beginning of the COVID pandemic and assumed that receipts would remain steady at that low rate through the end of the fiscal year. However, their calculations were wrong and receipts have been higher than predicted. While the agency may have surplus for the fiscal year, they anticipate a shortfall for the calendar year of around 8%. 

Anticipated Impact. The anticipated agency furloughs will increase current COVID delays and effectively halt U.S. immigration, negatively impacting families, U.S. businesses, educational institutions, medical facilities, and churches.

The furlough would effectively shut USCIS down, resulting in even more egregious delays in naturalization filings, immigrant visa filings, non-immigrant visa filings, changes of status applications, and other benefits. 

According to the Migration Policy Institute, “for each month the USCIS furlough lasts, 75,000 applications for various immigration benefits will not be processed.” Migration Information Source (Migration Policy Institute): Impending USCIS Furloughs Will Contribute to a Historic Drop in U.S. Immigration Levels – July 28, 2020. 

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