The Mounting Cost Of COVID Inaction: United States Citizenship And Immigration Services
COVID-19 On July 14, 2020
U.S. Infections – 3,296,599 | U.S. Deaths – 134,884
U.S. Unemployment – 11.1 percent | Since House Passed Heroes Act – 60 Days
What Is The United States Citizenship And Immigration Services (USCIS)?
The USCIS is the chief agency responsible for adjudicating and processing requests for immigration benefits, American citizenship, asylum and refugee status, other forms of humanitarian protections, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) applications.
Before the pandemic, an average of 63,000 people took the oath of allegiance to become United States citizens every month, and an estimated 650,000 citizenship applications were pending in December of 2019.
What Is The Problem?
USCIS is a fee funded agency that is facing a budget shortfall as high as $1.2 billion. With the coronavirus forcing field offices to close, revenues have dried up and up to 13,400 federal employees face being furloughed as soon as August 3rd. Furloughs would not only lead to disruption in the critical services provided by the agency, but would cause unnecessary hardship on thousands of federal employees and federal contractors, and come at a time when our nation is already dealing with record job losses. And with the agency refusing to conduct remote naturalization ceremonies, thousands of future U.S. citizens are stuck in limbo.
What Can We Do?
Senate Republicans need to abandon their “wait-and-see” approach to this global pandemic and provide the necessary resources to support the USCIS in the next coronavirus emergency supplemental. Congress should direct USCIS to postpone the furlough in fiscal year 2020 if the agency’s revenue estimates indicate that there will be a surplus going into fiscal year 2021.
Where Can I Read More?
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