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USCIS Avoids Imminent FurloughsAugust 26, 2020

USCIS Avoids Imminent Furlough of 13,000 Employees

US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has announced that it has stopped, at least temporarily, the planned furlough of more than 13,000 employees that was set to occur at the end of the August. The USCIS stated that it was able to avoid the massive furlough through significant and “unprecedented spending cuts”.

During a congressional hearing last month, representatives from both sides of the political spectrum displayed irritation with USCIS, requesting greater clarity on the agency’s funding needs.

Employee furloughs would have significantly crippled the agency’s ability to adjudicate petitions, leading to further increases of the already long wait times.

Although furloughs have been avoided for the time being, that avoidance may be temporary. USCIS has suggested that it will not have sufficient funds to sustain the agency through fiscal year 2021.

USCIS is the agency charged with the adjudication of all EB-5 petitions, which have seen steady increases in adjudication timeframes over the last several years, with many petitions averaging several years for an adjudication.

The House of Representatives has already passed a bill (H.R. 8089, “Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act”) which would provide USCIS an increase in “premium processing” fees— those paid to expedite certain applications— as a measure to increase agency revenues.
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