This includes government actions and resources, AILA's policy recommendations, and materials and talking points to engage with Congress and the press. Alert: View AILA’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center, Changes to the H-1B Process and PW Levels, Featured Issue: USCIS Budget Shortfall and Furloughs, H.R. 200 immigrants from 50 countries became citizens during the ceremony, one day before America's Independence Day. 4 months ago. "We go through all this, and then we get hit with the furlough.". This news broke at the end of June 2020. U.S. NEW YORK, NY - JULY 3: A new U.S. citizen holds a flag to his chest during the Pledge of Allegiance during a naturalization ceremony at the New York Public Library, July 3, 2018 in New York City. As you may have heard, the USCIS is short on cash and can’t afford to pay its workers. USCIS has requested a $1.2 billion bailout from Congress to keep the agency afloat. It also includes policy and procedure updates as well as late-breaking news about USCIS office closures and other emergencies. USCIS furlough could mean delays for Fiance visa cases. Due to a dramatic decrease in revenue during the coronavirus pandemic, roughly 13,400 U.S. Notices went out to staff this week who can potentially be furloughed, about 13,400 people of roughly 20,000, according to an agency spokesperson. "The damage would be long lasting.". Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget in late June, urging action from the administration. The AILA Career Center offers more than access to the best possible industry candidates. In this report, USCIS projects that its net spending for FY2020 will exceed total projected revenue by eight percent. Immediately give USCIS access to premium processing funds to pay for operational expenses, which are otherwise reserved for infrastructure improvement. By Geneva Sands and Priscilla Alvarez, CNN. 8089. The relevant language begins on page 30 of the Act. 8089) was introduced. On September 10, 2020, the Kansas Reflector reported that USCIS intends to furlough 800 people who work for a private contractor at the agency's National Benefit Center (NBC) in Lee's Summit, Missouri. 8337 - the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021 and Other Extensions Act, Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act (H.R. Allows for a biennial adjustment of premium processing fees based on the Consumer Price Index without rulemaking. CNN Sans ™ & © 2016 Cable News Network. By Camilo Montoya-Galvez July 6, 2020 / 7:10 AM / CBS News 3 months ago. 8089), seeks to address USCIS budget shortfall by giving the agency immediate access to existing premium processing funds that were dedicated to infrastructure improvement to cover operating expenses. On July 29, 2020, the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship conducted a USCIS oversight hearing. American Immigration Lawyers Association Search the AILALink database for all your practice needs—statutes, regs, case law, agency guidance, publications, and more. 8089), USCIS announced that it will avert an administrative furlough of more than 13,000 employees, Case Backlog and Transparency Act of 2020, H.R 5971, Read AILA's Statement on USCIS's Announcement, View Section-By-Section Summary of H.R. Drastic cuts will impact agency operations for foreseeable future . The hearing consisted of a government panel with Joseph Edlow, Deputy Director of USCIS, as well as a non-government panel. The bill, which passed by unanimous consent in the House on August 22, 2020, seeks to immediately increase USCIS premium processing revenues. Citizenship and Immigration Services today announced that the agency will avert an administrative furlough of more than 13,000 employees, scheduled to begin Aug. 30 as a result of unprecedented spending cuts and a steady increase in daily incoming revenue and receipts. U.S. Employees, lawmakers and outside experts have raised concerns that while the pandemic made the budget shortfall worse, it wasn't the only cause. AILA continues to support the bi-partisan Case Backlog and Transparency Act of 2020, H.R 5971, and urges Congress to pass this much needed legislation along with other measures to get the agency back on track. "All USCIS operations, including naturalization ceremonies, will be impacted by a furlough," spokesperson Joe Sowers said in a statement. The bill, introduced on September 22, 2020, Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D-NY) includes the language from Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act (H.R. Leahy said he spoke with USCIS Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow who informally requested $1.2 billion in emergency funding to get USCIS through the end of the calendar year. On August 22, 2020, the bipartisan Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act (H.R. The Migration Policy Institute, a think tank based in Washington, DC, identified three major issues that led to the lack of funding, including a drop in petitions over the last two years, increased spending on fraud detection and vetting and poor management of cash reserves. Legal Immigration System Faces Crisis as Imminent USCIS Furloughs Loom The agency that processes applications for visas, citizenship and other legal immigration benefits will furlough … ", USCIS expects to be able to maintain operations through the end of FY2020. A joint initiative between the American Immigration Council and AILA seeks to change the playing field for immigrants facing deportation. (CNN)The federal agency responsible for granting citizenship, providing immigration benefits, and processing visa applications is bracing to furlough over 13,000 employees next month -- a move that could grind the US immigration system to a halt. The furloughs, meanwhile, are getting closer for some employees who began receiving notices this week. Change of status requests for F, J and M - fee is no greater than $1,750 and processing time is no greater than 30 days. Congressional Democrats have railed against the agency's plans to furlough workers, with some saying any additional money allotted for USCIS should have … immigration. AILA's Featured Issues pages provide a one-stop shop on current immigration-related issues that AILA is actively tracking. Employees were to remain furloughed until October 1, 2020. AILA’s Director of Government Relations Shev Dalal-Dheini testified in the non-government panel, along with Doug Rand of Boundless, Michael Knowles, President of AFGE Local 1924, the local USCIS labor union, and Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies. The delay has prompted Trump to announce that he would now take executive actions to revive a bill that Congress has failed to agree on. Drastic cuts will impact agency operations for foreseeable future. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) employees will receive notice of administrative furlough … "The receipts are down," Knowles said. USCIS must give employees a 30-day notice of an expected furlough. It is unclear when and if the bill will be introduced or considered in the Senate. No. AILA Doc. Washington, DC 20005. Discussions between Congress and the administration over the issue are ongoing. Our hope is that Congressional Democrats accept our proposal to keep the lights on in a responsible manner. WASHINGTON—U.S. News: USCIS Averts Furlough of Nearly 70% of Workforce. "USCIS is collateral damage for this administration's immigration agenda. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will furlough you for more than 30 continuous calendar days, in a non-duty and non-pay status, for fewer than 90 days, beginning August 3, 2020," reads a furlough notice sent on June 29. "Like it or not, I have to go," one says. They’re considering furloughing more than 50% of the staff force. A spokesperson for USCIS said the agency notified Congress in May of its projected budget shortfall and proposed that USCIS pay the money back to the US Treasury by adding a 10% surcharge to applications. USCIS is seeking a $1.2 billion bailout from Congress. Without this funding, USCIS claimed that it would not have sufficient funds to maintain its operations through the end of the fiscal year or to fund its operations during the first quarter of FY2021. USCIS declined to make Edlow available for an interview, but in a statement sent to reporters, he said a future furlough remains a possibility. USCIS says it will cut spending to keep workers on the job but warns of slower processing times and longer-term revenue shortfall. Immigration agency warns of furloughs amid cash crunch. "The Trump White House is responsible for requesting supplemental funding, but all they have sent Congress is a one-page letter that provides virtually no information on the shortfall or proposed remedies," said Evan Hollander, communications director for the House Appropriations Committee. Timing of implementation is unknown at this time, but we expect a public announcement will be made. ", Leahy underscored his concerns Wednesday, calling on lawmakers to swiftly pass emergency appropriations and accompanying legislation to "ensure transparency and accountability.". Sarah Pierce, a policy analyst at the institute, said the furloughs were "avoidable, at least to a certain extent.". Vermont Business Magazine USCIS is currently scheduled to furlough 13,355 (or 67%) of its 19,881 employees on August 30, 2020, including over 1,000 in Vermont. "At this time, we do not have the number of … According to Government Executive, a news site covering the federal government, USCIS officials told employees the agency still planned to move forward on previously planned furloughs unless it received a congressional bailout despite the agency now projecting a budget surplus and ostensibly being able to cover costs through September. 8337, On August 25, 2020, USCIS announced that it will avert an administrative furlough of more than 13,000 employees, or nearly 70 percent of its workforce, that was scheduled to begin August 30, 2020, "as a result of unprecedented spending cuts and a steady increase in daily incoming revenue and receipts. 1331 G Street NW, Suite 300 8337   Read Section-by-Section of H.R. Citing coronavirus-related disruptions, U.S. On September 30, 2020 the President signed H.R. USCIS employees on Tuesday received an email announcement from the department titled "Spread the Word -- DHS is Hiring," which further infuriated the workforce, said Kenneth Palinkas, executive vice president of the National Citizenship and Immigration Services Council, which represents agency employees. Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Democrat, welcomed news of USCIS delaying furloughs late last month, but said he … The ongoing saga over whether United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will have to furlough more than 13,000 staff took another twist recently as talks over bailout funds stalled. Update July 24, 2020: USCIS has announced that they have agreed to delay the start of the staff furlough until August 31st (from August 3) due to funding estimates showing surplus for the fiscal year and not the previously-projected $571 million deficit. The agency's handling of dwindling funds has become a source of frustration internally, particularly as the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees USCIS, pushes out recruiting notices. 8089: The Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act, House Homeland and Border Security Chairpersons Send Letter Calling for Delay of USCIS Furloughs, House and Senate Committee Leaders Send Bicameral, Bipartisan Letter Calling for Delay of USCIS Furloughs, Senator Leahy Urges USCIS to Further Delay Unnecessary Staff Furloughs, AILA’s Director of Government Relations Shev Dalal-Dheini testified in the non-government panel, Senators Calls on DHS and USCIS to Save USCIS Employees from Unnecessary Furloughs, Senators Call for Emergency Funding of USCIS with Appropriate Guardrails to Ensure Responsibility and Accountability, H.R.7508: Supplemental Appropriations to USCIS, Congress Greatly Expands Premium Processing for Immigration Benefits, Immigration Agency Cuts of 800 Kansas City Jobs Expected to Trigger Backlogs, Delays Nationwide, USCIS Staff Furloughs Will Grind Legal Immigration to a Halt, US Immigration Services Set to Furlough Two-Thirds of Its Workers After Coronavirus Stimulus Talks Fail, USCIS Pleads for Money to Avoid Furloughs, Democrats Float Making the Funds Contingent on Policy Changes, With Deadline Looming, USCIS Employees Brace for Furloughs, $1 Billion Shortfall, Furloughs Could Bring US Immigration System to a Halt, Furlough Notices Arrive for Some 13,400 USCIS Employees, Immigration Budget Crisis Reflects Change in Policy, Trump Wasted So Much Money Harassing Immigrants That His Immigration Agency Needs a Bailout, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $1 Billion Dollars Without Changes at USCIS, USCIS Claims It’s Strapped for Cash, Requests Emergency Funding from Congress. In May 2020, USCIS notified Congress of a massive projected budget shortfall that is threatening the agency’s operations and the financial wellbeing of thousands of USCIS employees. "It's not in our national interest to let the immigration service fail. Agency cutbacks like this furlough of private contractors will increase backlogs and processing delays throughout the country. Issuance of all correspondence and notices electronically.