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House of Representatives Passes Bill to Provide Emergency Funding to USCIS

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Congress is moving quickly to avert the financial crisis currently plaguing the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). On Saturday August 22nd the House of Representatives unanimously passed a bill aiming to provide much needed emergency funding to help USCIS meet its operational needs.

Earlier this year, USCIS made clear that without additional funding the agency would need to furlough two-thirds of its workforce by the end of August, even after announcing an increase in fees set to go into effect on October 2nd. The agency has been struggling to stay afloat in the wake of the Coronavirus.

While the bill still needs to pass the Senate and be signed into law by the President, this is very promising news and a step in the right direction for applicants waiting in line for their applications to be processed on a timely basis.

Should the bill be successful it will stop the agency’s planned furloughs and inject much needed capital to help USCIS deal with the significant backlogs across the board. The Senate is expected to return to chambers in September and will likely take up the issue as soon as possible.

For now, Congress has asked USCIS to delay its furloughs in light of recent Congressional deliberations. Senators and Congressmen have sent letters to the heads of both USCIS and DHS stating, “USCIS’s improved financial position and continued efforts by Congress to ensure the agency’s operational continuity warrant a further delay in furloughs.”

For its part, USCIS has agreed to delay furloughs until the end of this month to give both houses of Congress enough time to provide financial relief. DHS however has had its doubts that Congress can deliver additional funding in time. DHS officials have had conversations finding that furloughs could save the agency $330 million.

We remain hopeful that lawmakers in both houses will pass a resolution by September.


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