With a few weeks left before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) put into effect the suspension of almost 70% of its workforce, this Tuesday they announced that they would no longer follow through with that decision. However, the cost of maintaining them will have a huge impact on the agency.
USCIS said in a Press release that an “unprecedented spending cut and a steady increase in daily income” that would keep its operations afloat for the remainder of fiscal 2020 led to the cancellation of the decision to suspend 13,000 employees.
Despite maintaining its workforce, the reduction in operational expenses will directly impact immigration processes, which will see delays and long waiting times.
“Our workforce is the foundation of all USCIS accomplishments. (…) In this year of uncertainty, they have remained steadfast in their mission to manage our nation’s immigration system, ”said USCIS Policy Director Joseph Edlow.
Edlow explained that this measure does not guarantee that there will be no suspensions in the future, since in order to return to “normal operations”, the “intervention of Congress is required to sustain the agency in fiscal year 2021.”
Although naturalization cases will also see an impact on longer waiting times to process documents, the ceremonies will continue.
The announcement comes a day after USCIS reported that it will implement the guideline to reject all new applications for the DACA program for foreigners who have not applied.
The agency did not respond to a request from El Nuevo Herald to comment on details of these delays for immigrants.
USCIS Increased Application Fees to Fight Fiscal Crisis
At the end of July, USCIS announced a substantial increase in the fees for most of its immigration procedures, arguing that it would recover “all the costs of the services it offers.”
Among them, the cost of applying for US citizenship increased by 81 percent and those seeking asylum now had to pay for the application. The measures will take effect from October 2.
Faced with this decision, a coalition of eight pro-immigrant organizations in San Francisco sued the government of Donald Trump for a court order to be issued prohibiting said increase.
The court has not made a decision on the case.