Leahy Announces That USCIS Is Postponing Furloughs Of 13,000 Public Servants

(FRIDAY, July 24, 2019) – Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Friday announced the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agreed to postpone its scheduled furlough of more than 13,000 public servants through Aug. 31.  The action affects 1,109 Vermonters who earlier had received furlough notices effective Aug. 3.

The announcement came after Leahy pressed the organization to reverse course on its intended furloughs after he made public the fact that new revenue estimates showed the agency ending the fiscal year in a surplus, and not the previously projected $571 million deficit.  USCIS Deputy Director of Policy Joseph Edlow gave the assurances to Leahy that the furloughs would be delayed on Friday morning by phone.

Leahy said:  “Furloughing thousands of public servants in the middle of a pandemic and at record unemployment would have upended the lives of the dedicated women and men working at USCIS and impacted thousands who rely on their services, and after new revenue estimates showed the agency ending the fiscal year with a surplus it was completely unjustifiable.  I’m glad the agency decided to change course for now, but I remain troubled the Trump Administration was pushing for these furloughs in the first place.  As Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I am working to ensure these dedicated women and men stay on the job to help those chasing the American Dream. With regard to the projected USCIS deficit for fiscal year 2021, I am committed to addressing this issue in the next coronavirus supplemental so that USCIS can continue accomplishing its missions without a furlough.”

The announcement follows weeks of Leahy pressing the administration to reverse course, including making public on Monday the fact that the agency would end the fiscal year in a surplus.  The USCIS administers the country’s naturalization and immigration system, helping thousands of people become American citizens each year and providing humanitarian protections to vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers.  

Previously from Senator Leahy:

With A Projected USCIS Surplus, Leahy & Tester Call On The Agency To Postpone Its Planned Furloughs

Statement On Impending Furloughs At The United States Citizenship And Immigration Services

Leahy Calls On Leader McConnell And President Trump To Pass Emergency Funding For USCIS

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