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August 2020 USCIS Staff Furlough Called Off


August 2020 USCIS Staff Furlough Called Off

USCIS has just made an announcement to its staff and external stakeholders that the administrative staff furlough which was scheduled to begin on August 30, 2020 has been cancelled and the current USCIS staffing levels would remain unchanged.

Cost Cutting Measures Means Fewer Contractors and Processing Delays

According to USCIS’s Deputy Director of Policy, the agency’s financial situation has improved as a result of increase revenues since April and they are in a position to cut costs in order to avoid staff furloughs. However, USCIS is warning that they are implementing cost cutting measures, including decreasing the number of contractors assisting USCIS.

Once it became clear that Congress was not going to act before Aug. 30, we increased our efforts to find additional savings by making significant spending cuts, and we have begun taking further proactive measures to sustain our federal workforce until Congress acts. The depth of these cuts is something Congress asked us to avoid in the spring, with assurances of providing financial support before their August recess. Obviously, that did not happen and we are now forced to implement severe cost cutting efforts that will have an impact on agency operations and will result in the descoping of contracts and a reduction in the number of contractors who assist our federal workforce.

Although our situation has temporarily improved due to a modest increase in revenues, Congress must act on a long-term fix that will provide the necessary financial assistance to sustain the agency through fiscal year 2021 and beyond.

Without congressional action, we will be forced to continue taking cost-reducing actions that will result in significant operational impacts. For example, we anticipate that wait times for pending case inquiries through the USCIS Contact Center will increase, case processing times will increase, and although we will continue conducting naturalization ceremonies, individuals may experience increased wait times in the adjudication of their naturalization applications as there will be fewer contractors to assist our adjudicators in preparing case files for adjudication.

August 25, 2020 Message to USCIS Staff by Joseph Edlow, Deputy Director for Policy

 

This will translate into increased wait times for a number of USCIS actions – case inquiries, intake, adjudication. At this time we are uncertain of the exact impact but it is fair to expect that many applicants will experience longer wait times.