USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) was originally planning to furlough 13,000 of its workers if no Congressional action was taken before August 3, but has now pushed the start of the furlough to August 31. Although USCIS had financial troubles prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, starting in March USCIS saw a 50% decrease in fees. This decrease in fees directly effected USCIS as it is a fee-funded agency.
The combination of the already present financial troubles and lack of revenue being generated due to the COVID-19 outbreak has led USCIS to take the drastic step of furloughing a large percentage of its workforce. There are Senators and other officials advocating for USCIS to be given Congressional support, but there have been no bills signed into place yet guaranteeing USCIS federal relief. Without funding from Congress, workers may need to remain furloughed until October 1, 2020 or beyond. Consequences of a reduced workforce for USCIS may mean fewer naturalization ceremonies, more delays for asylum requests, and delays in visa renewals or applications during the furlough period.
The most recent actions taken by Congress to address USCIS will be on Wednesday, July 29 when the House Committee on the Judiciary holds a hearing on the oversight of USCIS. By pushing the start of its furlough to August 31, USCIS was able to buy more time for Congress members to work towards a solution for USCIS' financial issues. However, this is still a time sensitive matter and so it is necessary for Congress to act swiftly in order to avoid further impending delays on the immigration and naturalization process.
This article is provided as an educational service and is not legal advice. Consult with an attorney for your specific circumstances. For a comprehensive evaluation of your immigration situation and options, you are invited to call me at 214-494-8033, complete my contact form.