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U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services naturalization ceremony. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

About 13,400 employees from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will be furloughed by August due to a decline in revenue from immigration and visa application fees that help fund the agency, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: President Trump's administration has implemented many immigration policies that blocked non-Americans from entering the country's borders, separated families and delayed visas, drying up the agency's revenue.

  • Administration officials blame the pandemic for a 50% drop in fees from applications since March.
  • But, applications to USCIS by U.S. citizens seeking to bring immediate relatives to the U.S. have decreased by almost 30% from 2017 to 2019, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

Driving the news: The Trump administration announced last week it will expand entry bans into the U.S. for foreigners on certain temporary work visas — including high-skilled H-1B visas— through the end of the year.

By the numbers: The agency has turned to Congress, asking for emergency funds of $1.2 billion. Of the agency’s $4.8 billion budget, 97% comes from fees.

  • Both Democrats and Republicans said they want to prevent the furloughs and that it was possible to include additional aid into another coronavirus relief package, per NYT.

What to watch: Russell Vought, the acting White House budget director, told lawmakers the agency’s fee receipts could decrease by more than 60% by Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
Oct 8, 2020 - Health

Science is winning over politics on coronavirus vaccines

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Science has won out over politics in the race for a coronavirus vaccine — for now.

Why it matters: The Food and Drug Administration's end run around the White House on vaccine guidance earlier this week may end up boosting public confidence, which is very important in light of widespread vaccine skepticism.

Biden will reverse Trump's attempt to lift COVID-related travel restrictions

Photo: Tasos Katopodis via Getty

The incoming Biden administration will reverse President Trump's last-minute order to lift COVID-19 related travel restrictions, Jen Psaki, the incoming White House press secretary, tweeted.

Why it matters: President Trump ordered entry bans lifted for travelers from the U.K., Ireland, Brazil and much of Europe to go into effect Jan. 26, but the Biden administration will "strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19," Jen Psaki said. Biden will be inaugurated on Wednesday, Jan. 20 and Trump will no longer be president by the time the order is set to go into effect.

Dominion sends cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell

Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Dominion Voting Systems on Monday sent a cease and desist letter to My Pillow CEO Mike Lindell over his spread of misinformation related to the 2020 election.

Why it matters: Trump and several of his allies have pushed false conspiracy theories about the company, leading Dominion to take legal action. It's suing pro-Trump lawyer Sidney Powell for defamation and $1.3 billion in damages, and a Dominion employee has sued Trump himself, OANN and Newsmax.