USCIS Financial Crunch and Furloughs

Last Updated

July 24, 2020

In mid-May 2020, news broke that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would request a $1.2 billion bailout from Congress or else face massive lay-offs and disruption to operations. While the agency’s acting director cited the COVID-19 pandemic as the cause of the funding crisis, immigration experts have long raised alarms that extreme mismanagement would lead to financial instability. In fact, the agency itself predicted it would be facing a $1.2 billion funding deficit long before coronavirus.

On June 25, 2020, USCIS Deputy Director Joseph Edlow issued a statement on the agency’s financial status. USCIS issued furlough notices to 13,400 employees on June 29, indicating the furloughs would start Aug. 3, 2020. On July 24, 2020, Senator Patrick Leahy announced and USCIS confirmed that the furloughs will be postponed until Aug. 31, 2020. With more than 70 percent of its staff out of work, the agency’s operations would effectively be brought to a halt. There have already been reports of disruptions in operations, including receipt delays, printing issues and significant delays in card production. Recent reports indicated USCIS ended its contract with the company that it used to print secure documents such as green cards and employment authorization documents in June.

In the midst of the looming furloughs, the CIS Ombudsman’s Office has issued two communications: a statement from the Ombudsman’s office issued via email on July 13, which offered information about the status of the offices’ operations during potential furlough; and Ombudsman’s Alert issued via email on July 22, offering guidance to stakeholders who may require assistance in response to the card production delays.

CLINIC urges its network to prepare themselves and their clients for the anticipated furloughs. Please find our resources below.


Advocacy Tools