After weeks of threatening to furlough 70% of its staff at the end of August unless it received a $1.2 billion Congressional bailout, USCIS announced yesterday that the agency is funded through fiscal year 2020. Despite this, applicants should continue to expect long wait times and delays in the adjudication of all applications filed with USCIS. On top of its already long wait times, the agency’s field office closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic have caused an increase in the backlog of cases. And even though the agency has funding for the next few months, USCIS representatives have stated that the agency will need Congressional assistance if it is expected to return to normal operations in fiscal year 2021.
Although USCIS claims that this financial crisis was caused by its receipt of fewer applications during the coronavirus pandemic, union representatives for USCIS and others have pointed to the administration’s immigration policies that have deterred individuals and employers from applying for immigration benefits. Because the agency is self-funded through the filing fees it collects, fewer applications result in less money for the agency to process the applications it receives.
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