U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced today that it is canceling a planned furlough of 13,000 employees scheduled for Aug. 30.

Key points:

  • The agency claims that it has averted the furloughs by making unprecedented spending cuts and seeing a steady increase in the number of immigration applications and petitions.
  • The agency now expects to maintain operations through fiscal year 2020, which ends Sept. 30.
  • USCIS stated that the spending cuts, however, will have effects on USCIS operations, including longer processing times, longer wait times for case inquiries with the USCIS Contact Center, and longer adjudication timelines for adjustment-of-status and naturalization applications.

Background: Since May, the agency has sought a $1.2 billion loan from Congress, claiming that the COVID-19 crisis has impacted its fee-based revenue. The agency originally planned to furlough the employees, who represent about 70% of its workforce, on Aug. 3, but delayed the furloughs until the end of August after new projections showed a budget surplus for the fiscal year. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle had urged the agency not to move forward with the furloughs. The House passed an emergency bill on Saturday, but its path forward in the Senate remains unclear.

BAL Analysis: The cancelation of the furloughs will reduce the disruption to USCIS processing, though applicants should still anticipate delays in services. BAL is following the USCIS budgetary issues, including any actions by Congress, and will report new information as it becomes available.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

Copyright © 2020 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact copyright@bal.com.