July 28, 2020

Planned furloughs of USCIS workers delayed

Furloughs have been rescheduled for the end of August unless emergency funding gets approved, a union steward said.

PHOENIX — The date roughly 13,000 employees of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services could be furloughed has been pushed back to the end of August.

The need for furloughs was based on a projection that the agency would have a large deficit at the end of September. But two Democratic senators said a revised estimate actually predicts a surplus.

It’s unclear where the extra money came from, said Steven Sahr, a union steward at the Citizenship and Immigration Services field office in Phoenix.

“That, to me, is a little disingenuous, from our management, that $500 million was just found and added to our operations once the Appropriations Committee started shedding some light on it,” he said.

Sahr said furloughs have been rescheduled for the end of August, unless emergency funding for Citizenship and Immigration Services gets approved.

USCIS spokesperson Jessica Collins released a prepared statement.

“Recent assurances from Congress, and an uptick in application and petition receipts, have allowed USCIS senior leadership the flexibility to responsibly delay the start date of the administrative furlough of approximately 13,400 USCIS employees until Aug. 30. 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. USCIS’ funding request of $1.2 billion remains unchanged and the agency is depending on Congress to provide emergency funding to ensure agency operations continue uninterrupted.”

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