On August 25, 2020, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that the agency will avert a furlough of approximately 13,000 employees, previously scheduled to take place on August 30, 2020. In its announcement, USCIS indicated that a steady increase in daily revenue along with aggressive spending reduction measures will allow the agency to maintain operations through the end of fiscal year (FY) 2020 (September 30, 2020). However, USCIS stated that unprecedented spending cuts will affect all agency operations and contracts, which is expected to result in “increased wait times for pending case inquiries … [and] longer case processing times.”
Further, USCIS asked Congress to take action that would provide necessary funding to “sustain the agency throughout FY 2021 and beyond.” The agency’s announcement comes days after the House of Representatives passed a bill (H.R. 8089) that would provide additional funding to USCIS by increasing its premium processing revenue stream. The bill is currently in the Senate for consideration and, if passed, may prevent additional spending cuts at USCIS while simultaneously decreasing case processing times for certain applicants.
Ogletree Deakins’ Immigration Practice Group will monitor developments with respect to these and other policy changes and will post updates on the Immigration blog and in the firm’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar programs.