Beginning in August, US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will likely furlough approximately 13,400 workers, many of whom are responsible for adjudicating visa and immigration benefit applications and petitions. USCIS currently employs around 20,000 workers, meaning that the furloughs would affect over half of the agency's workforce.
USCIS is funded by the filing fees it collects for immigration applications and petitions. In recent months, the agency has experienced an over 50% decrease in application and petition requests.
The agency states that this is due in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic, but other experts also blame USCIS' increasing denial rates, increased government filing fees and the Trump Administration's restrictive immigration policies for the decline.
The furlough would be avoidable if Congress provides additional funding to the agency.
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