WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 30, 2020) — Next Monday, Aug. 3, furloughs were set to begin for more than 13,400 employees of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Their union, the American Federation of Government Employees, won a temporary reprieve and got the furloughs postponed until Aug. 31. But now, AFGE is calling on all union members and supporters to urge Congress to find a permanent funding solution and keep these important workers on the job.
“While this delay is a step in the right direction, more must be done to protect the jobs of these essential employees,” AFGE President Everett Kelley said. “We hope this delay will allow time for Congress to pass emergency funding legislation to prevent these furloughs from ever taking place. Congress and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration must address this issue once and for all so we do not find ourselves in this position again.”
TAKE A STAND — Click here to send a message urging Congress to halt the furloughs and provide the funding needed to keep this important agency functioning.
USCIS is the federal government agency that oversees lawful immigration to the United States. It is a fee-for-service organization, meaning it relies on the revenue it collects through work like visitor petitions and citizenship applications, for example, to keep the agency running. But throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS hasn’t been able to collect enough fees from immigration examinations, and as projected a 61% drop in application and petition requests through the end of the fiscal year.
Though the agency has enacted belt-tightening measures, the furloughs are seen as necessary unless Congress provides emergency supplemental funding. AFGE has been calling on Congress to provide $1.2 billion in funding to keep USCIS employees on the job, and so far, more than 40,000 people have joined their call to action urging Congress to save the USCIS.