On August 25, 2020, USCIS announced that due to "unprecedented spending cuts and a steady increase in daily incoming revenue and receipts," the agency "will avert an administrative furlough of more than 13,000 employees" that was scheduled to begin August 30, 2020.
Despite the welcome news that USCIS furloughs have been averted and that USCIS "expects to be able to maintain operations through the end of fiscal year 2020" (i.e., through September 30, 2020), USCIS warns that "averting this furlough comes at a severe operational cost that will increase backlogs and wait times across the board, with no guarantee we can avoid future furloughs. A return to normal operating procedures requires congressional intervention to sustain the agency through fiscal year 2021."
On May 15, USCIS had notified Congress of a projected budget shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and requested emergency funding of $1.2 billion. The Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Homeland Security sent letters in support of the USCIS proposal.
On June 25, 2020 USCIS had published a statement describing "the agency’s fiscal outlook due to the COVID-19 pandemic," and stating that it would have to furlough the employees if Congress did not act on the agency's request to Congress for $1.2 billion in emergency funding.
The following articles illustrate the issue.
- CBS News. Thousands of U.S. immigration agency employees could face furloughs without emergency funds. May 26, 2020.
- Roll Call. USCIS seeks $1.2 billion from Congress. May 18, 2020.
- CNN. Immigration agency seeks bailout, plans to charge more for visa applications. May 18, 2020.
- New York Times. Immigration Agency That Issues Visas, Green Cards Struggles to Stay Afloat. May 17, 2020.