Due to the government’s refusal to provide the necessary funding request to support USCIS operations, on August 30, the USCIS shall begin to furlough about 13,400 of its 20,000 employees because of budget shortfalls.
The USCIS, a government body under the mandate of the Department of Homeland Security is self-funding and derives operating funds from the application filing fees submitted by customers. Due to the decrease in the number of applicant petitions seeking entry into the U.S over the past three years under the Trump administration, the USCIS has no other choice but to furlough employees. The president and his administration have made the process more rigorous for those seeking entry to the U.S., to work and stay here legally.
We, at Emandi Law Firm, have compiled interesting facts with respect to immigration applications:
1. Each year, close to 1 million immigrants apply for U.S. citizenship each year.
2. Approximately, 3 million people apply for temporary work permits each year, and also 760,000 permanent residents apply to renew or replace their green cards.
4. Nearly 1 million U.S. citizens and permanent residents sponsor relatives for a green card, and also 630,000 green card applications are filed each year.
5. 156,000 married couples are interviewed by USCIS to secure permanent status.
6. Over 550,000 employers sponsor temporary workers.
7. Over 230,000 applications apply to extend or change temporary immigration status (for example, an international student shifting over to a high-skill work visa).
The impact of this furlough will certainly impact families, businesses, and communities nationwide. Naturalization applications and oath ceremonies have decreased to such a low level that there is a backlog. A furlough will also be felt by many Americans as one in eight native-born U.S. citizens has an immigrant parent, and if USCIS’s work is delayed or halted, American families will feel the emotional and financial toll.
Moreover, small, medium, and large U.S. businesses that rely on foreign-born workers are unable to compete due to the voids in critical positions. These workers bring talent and innovation that help create more jobs for American workers and stimulate the U.S. economy. But without USCIS processing their paperwork, America risks losing the ability to recruit and retain workers needed to emerge from the current economic downturn.
Further, immigrant workers have been working the front lines of our national response to the Covid-19 pandemic. U.S. companies should continue to process the necessary paperwork for essential workers, healthcare professionals, and vaccine researchers for a faster recovery of the economy.
We, at Emandi Law Firm, strongly believe that the USCIS should continue its operations without interruption and should be granted the government funding as soon as possible.