U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office located in Silicon Valley (Sundry Photography/Shutterstock.com)

House lawmakers urge USCIS to reconsider Aug. 30 furloughs

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.), who heads a border security subcommittee, are asking the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service to push back 13,000 employee furloughs that are scheduled to take effect Aug. 30.

In mid-May USCIS estimated that within a few months it would be unable to make payroll as a result of budget shortfalls and needed over $1.2 billion in emergency funding; otherwise, USCIS said, it would be forced to furlough 13,400 employees on Aug. 3. USCIS then pushed back furloughs to Aug. 30, after lawmakers voiced support for emergency funding.  

In an Aug. 21 letter to Department of Homeland Security acting Secretary Chad Wolf and USCIS Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow, Thompson and Rice cited “a recent re-evaluation of USCIS’ carryover [that] indicates that it has adequate resources to continue operations through the end of the fiscal year.” They warned that “if the furloughs go into effect as announced on August 30, they will cripple operations and cause significant hardship for thousands of dedicated employees and their families.”

The lawmakers noted that Congress and the agency had been working on a deal to secure funding to keep the agency at its current strength and cautioned that "to implement furloughs now could undermine ongoing efforts and cause severe, possibly irreparable, harm to USCIS."

Reader comments

Tue, Aug 25, 2020 Sergio CA

Where's are so called Leader? Didn't he say protecting us U.S. Citizens and our homes was priority and we need to keep our borders protected. Is the wall more important than the hard working people of the USCIS? Our border protection and immigration employees are the ones that keep our borders safe.

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