On July 24, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) confirmed that the agency would delay the planned furloughs for 13,400 employees that were scheduled to begin in August. Earlier in the week, Senators Leahy (D-VT) and Tester (D-MT) submitted a letter to DHS and USCIS calling on the agency to postpone the planned furloughs. The letter sent by the Senators came after revised revenue estimates showed that USCIS will end the current fiscal year with a surplus rather than the projected $571 million deficit.
USCIS spokeswoman Jessica Collins said “Recent assurances from Congress, and an uptick in application and petition receipts, have allowed USCIS senior leadership the flexibility to responsibly delay the start date of the administrative furlough of approximately 13,400 USCIS employees until Aug. 30,” Collins continued “This delay is intended to allow Congress enough time to act and provide USCIS with the funding needed in order to avert the administrative furlough all together. USCIS’ funding request of $1.2 billion remains unchanged and the agency is depending on Congress to provide emergency funding to ensure agency operations continue uninterrupted.”
From the Office of Senator Patrick Leahy:
Leahy Announces That USCIS Is Postponing Furloughs Of 13,000 Public Servants, Including 1,109 In Vermont
(FRIDAY, July 24, 2020) Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Friday announced the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agreed to postpone its scheduled furlough of more than 13,000 public servants through Aug. 31. The action affects 1,109 Vermonters who earlier had received furlough notices effective Aug. 3.
The announcement came after Leahy pressed the organization to reverse course on its intended furloughs after he made public the fact that new revenue estimates showed the agency ending the fiscal year in a surplus, and not the previously projected $571 million deficit. USCIS Deputy Director of Policy Joseph Edlow gave the assurances to Leahy that the furloughs would be delayed on Friday morning by phone.
Leahy said: “Furloughing thousands of public servants in the middle of a pandemic and at record unemployment would have upended the lives of the dedicated women and men working at USCIS and impacted thousands who rely on their services, and after new revenue estimates showed the agency ending the fiscal year with a surplus it was completely unjustifiable. I’m glad the agency decided to change course for now, but I remain troubled the Trump Administration was pushing for these furloughs in the first place. As Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I am working to ensure these dedicated women and men stay on the job to help those chasing the American Dream. With regard to the projected USCIS deficit for fiscal year 2021, I am committed to addressing this issue in the next coronavirus supplemental so that USCIS can continue accomplishing its missions without a furlough.”
The announcement follows weeks of Leahy pressing the administration to reverse course, including making public on Monday the fact that the agency would end the fiscal year in a surplus. The USCIS administers the country’s naturalization and immigration system, helping thousands of people become American citizens each year and providing humanitarian protections to vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers...read here