Jul 24, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Mass furlough of U.S. immigration officers delayed until end of August

A sign that reads: "Sorry USCIS is closed"
A sign explaining the two-week closure of a USCIS field office in Tukwila, Washington on March 3. Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has delayed furloughing about 13,400 employees until August 30, spokesperson Jessica Collins said in a statement on Friday.

The big picture: The Trump administration has banned entry into the U.S. for foreigners on certain temporary work visas — including high-skilled H-1B visas — through the end of the year, Axios' Stef Kight reports.

Catch up quick: The agency says it is trying to avert a financial crisis during the pandemic by cutting non-essential spending and in May called for $1.2 billion in emergency funding from Congress.

  • The agency says it would pay back congressional funds by adding a 10% surcharge to visa applications.
  • The decision by USCIS leadership to delay furloughing roughly 70% of its officers is attributed to "[r]ecent assurances from Congress" and "an uptick in application and petition receipts," Collins notes.

What they're saying: “This delay is intended to allow Congress enough time to act and provide USCIS with the funding needed in order to avert the administrative furlough all together," Collins said.

Go deeper: Trump to expand coronavirus-related immigration restrictions

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