U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials said spending cuts and increased incoming revenue and receipts has resulted in averting an administrative furlough of more than 13,000 employees.
“Our workforce is the backbone of every USCIS accomplishment. Their resilience and strength of character always serves the nation well, but in this year of uncertainty, they remain steadfast in their mission administering our nation’s lawful immigration system, safeguarding its integrity and protecting the American people, even as a furlough loomed before them,” USCIS Deputy Director for Policy Joseph Edlow said. “However, averting this furlough comes at a severe operational cost that will increase backlogs and wait times across the board, with no guarantee we can avoid future furloughs. A return to normal operating procedures requires congressional intervention to sustain the agency through fiscal year 2021.”
Officials acknowledged aggressive spending reduction measures would impact agency operations, including naturalizations, and drastically impact agency contracts.
Reductions included descoping federal contracts assisting USCIS adjudicators in processing and preparing case files, as well as other support activities.
Anticipated operational impacts include increased wait times for pending case inquiries with the USCIS Contact Center, longer case processing times, and increased adjudication time for aliens adjusting status or naturalizing.