FURLOUGH: FILE NOW
Recent furlough developments threaten to put USCIS, its workers, and all of its activities to a halt. This event has an earful in store for USCIS, aspiring immigrants, and the citizens of the United States.
The year has been filled with one hurdle after another, with the coronavirus being on top of the list. But just when we thought things couldn't get any worse, prolonged mismanagement has forced the entire agency to announce furloughs of 70% of its workforce. While this event could potentially shake the entirety of the U.S., it especially bares its fangs on aspiring immigrants, and future citizens of the United States.
What Is A Furlough?
A furlough is a mandatory leave of absence placed on employees. In simple terms, furlough is time off without pay. Naturally, when workers are furloughed, they get to return to work when their employer deems fit.
The Rising Issue
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is set to furlough about 13,400 of its employees by the end of August 2020. A furlough is never a pleasant event for anyone, but we are talking about the agency responsible for granting immigration benefits to millions of future citizens. We stress: this has never happened before.Recent issues relating to USCIS already had citizens (current and aspiring) biting their nails in anxiety.
The Trump administration is dedicated to dismantling US immigration. While it may have stated their focus was on “illegal immigration,” the record since 2017 makes it plain that the real effort was against immigration, writ large. The Muslim ban, TPS de-designation, scrutiny on H-1B petitions, the revocation of DACA, the public charge rule, the reprogramming of asylum law are but a few examples of the administration’s assault on due process in immigration. The grand finale – the halt of the U.S. immigration system - is by design.
There's little surprise here. In the first 3 years of the Trump administration, USCIS put in a lot of effort into tightening immigration procedures. This, in turn, led to a dramatic 900,000 decrease in the number of immigration petitions between 2017 and 2019, as noted by CNN.
USCIS's source of funds is the money they make from filing fees. Naturally, fewer immigration petitions coming in means less funds for USCIS. USCIS is the architect of its own pending misfortune.
That being said, if the furlough actually happens, its effects would be overwhelming on everyone concerned. It won't only impact USCIS, but will also affect its federal employees, immigrants, aspiring Americans, and their U.S. citizen family members and employers – and all in the middle of a global pandemic.
● Realistically, many U.S citizens would be facing unemployment in these times of economic insecurity.
● Hundreds of thousands of aspiring citizens would be left unattended to since the immigration system would be crippled.
● Immigrants in the U.S could lose their legal immigration and face deportation. This is because USCIS would lack the capacity to handle their renewal filings.
● After the furlough, USCIS would be unable to function with its remaining workforce. This would cause all activities to come to an abrupt halt.
A Ray Of Hope
Amidst all the negatives, Congress decided to intervene. USCIS would be funded as a part of the COVID-19 relief package, and guidelines will be provided to ensure responsibility and accountability. The sidebars Congress laid on the table were specifically aimed to return USCIS to its original duty from the "vetting -function" it had been performing since the change in administration.
USCIS's deliberate policy choices not only deterred thousands of aspiring citizens, but it also wasted the agency's resources. It shows how much the Trump administration intends to block off immigration into the United States.
As a representative of the people, Congress’ goal is to ensure that U.S. citizens don’t lose their jobs due to the furlough, and immigrants are not separated from their families, nor obstructed in their businesses. All these and more, are things we aim to achieve in our law firm.
File for What You Can, As Soon As You Can, While You Still Can
Issues of citizenship and Immigration are becoming increasingly difficult as the year goes by. But don’t panic! – this only means you should act quickly before things move further out of your reach.
At the HMA Law Firm, we stand firmly on the belief that every hurdle, even in this case, can be overcome when we pool our legal assets together, along with time, and full attention every step of the way. Where the law finds ways to inconvenience our clients, we find ways within the law, to fight for our clients. And when the law simply doesn’t allow it, we go a step further: we advocate to change the law..
The odds are aimed to deter your immigration, but you don't have to give in. Together, we will overcome the odds and help you achieve the prosperity you long for.
Take the first step by calling us, or filling our contact form!
Get in touch with our attorneys and discuss your legal hurdles today. If there’s a way, we’ll find it.
Hassan M. Ahmad, Esq.