USCIS Notifies Union it Could Layoff 1000s on 7/20 – May 27, 2020

Posted on: May 27th, 2020
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USCIS Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow has notified USCIS’ workers that it could furlough “a portion” of the agency’s employees beginning on July 20th if it doesn’t receive more than a billion of emergency funding from Congress. The agency is blaming the coronavirus, but many critics are pointing to mismanagement and its dogged pursuit of the Trump Administration’s anti-immigrant agenda for their current financial woes.

The agency’s funding comes mostly from fees from applicants. And with the addition of numerous steps in the immigration process that have made it harder to efficiently process cases as well as ending the program to allow the payment of extra fees to expedite applications, the agency finds itself in a financial hole. Edlow blamed a steep drop in applications, but even that is arguably the fault of the Administration. For example, a recent executive order from President Trump barring many types of immigrants from seeking visas is likely depressing demand. And election years usually see a substantial increase in citizenship applications, but USCIS has refused to conduct video interviews or oath ceremonies and many people are likely skipping applying because they don’t believe they will be able to vote in the fall election. Another likely reason applications are down is the new public charge rule which gives the agency a lot more authority to deny visas to people deemed to be likely to receive public benefits in the future.