USCIS announced yesterday that it is preparing to furlough more than half of its employees.
The organization suspended its in-person services on March 3, 2020, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Its offices began re-opening to the public on June 4, but the closure and reduced services caused a severe drop in revenue. USCIS has been in talks with the U.S. Congress about the possibility of securing additional funding. However, unless that happens, USCIS will have to furlough a significant number of employees.
According to CNN, the agency has about 20,000 employees. CNN also reports that about 13,400 of its employees will shortly be notified whether they will be placed on furlough beginning August 3.
USCIS is funded primarily by the fees it charges for its various services. However, with the office closures, suspension of interviews and naturalization ceremonies, and this week’s executive order suspending the issuance of all work-related visas through the end of 2020, this reduction in staff may be the agency’s only option unless additional funding comes through.