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USCIS Delays Furlough as Congressional Talks Progress

U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement relies on fees from visa and green card applications, which fell off amid the coronavirus pandemic

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U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is planning to delay its furlough of staff until at least Aug. 31, giving Congress more time to address the agency’s $1.2 billion budget shortfall. 

USCIS’s funding depends on fees it collects from immigrants filing citizenship, green card and other immigration applications, which fell dramatically during the coronavirus pandemic. President Trump’s restrictions on certain green cards and visas during the U.S.’s economic slump didn’t help either. The agency said its budget shortfall would force it tofurlough 13,000 of its 19,000 employees starting Aug. 3. 

But according to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the agency is now projecting it will end the fiscal year in September with a $121 million surplus. This surplus can’t be used to pay employees due to contracting rules, however, and may already be earmarked for other contracts. The agency recently announced the furloughs would be delayed because funding talks in Congress had made progress. The Wall Street Journal

In other federal immigration news…

Progressives Oppose Homeland Security Funding

With 2021 budget talks slated for this week, the Congressional Progressive Caucus is pushing to withhold the Department of Homeland Security’s spending bill from consideration. But the Congressional Hispanic Caucus backs the homeland security spending, as it has already submitted an amendment that would rein in the administration’s decision to send Border Patrol and ICE personnel to police protests in Oregon and Washington. Politico

Senators Want Undocumented Immigrants to Get Stimulus

Republicans Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Thom Tillis (N.C.) want to ensure family members of undocumented immigrants are not excluded from the next round of stimulus checks. People married to or children of undocumented immigrants were not eligible for the $1,200 checks sent out by the government under the first coronavirus stimulus bill — almost 2 million U.S. citizens. Rubio introduced legislation in June to rectify this and is now fighting to include it in the forthcoming Republican relief package. He believes the GOP should not be alienating any voters while Trump is sinking in the polls. The Hill

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