United States Representatives Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) announced Thursday a bill to provide $1.2 billion in emergency supplemental funding to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) through the end of 2020.
The USCIS, which administers the nation’s legal immigration system and processes millions of immigration applications and thousands of international adoptions each year, is normally funded through fees it collects from applicants. USCIS announced that it would run short of funds and will begin furloughing more than 13,400 employees in August should Congress fail to appropriate emergency funding.
“As millions of American workers and small businesses continue to feel the economic devastation of COVID-19, it’s imperative that Congress come together to prevent over 13,400 unnecessary job losses and allow USCIS to continue processing legal immigration applications that have been waiting for months or longer,” said Congressman Cleaver. “Although I want to see policy changes made at USCIS, during the compounding public health and economic crises, preserving jobs and processing applications for workers and companies that have been waiting for months must be the first step.”
“I want to thank Congressman Fortenberry for his willingness to work on a bipartisan basis to keep these workers on payroll and USCIS open for business. While Congress continues to negotiate with USCIS, we will fight vociferously to have this emergency funding approved before August.”
“The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service has a quiet but important presence in Lincoln. Hundreds of its hard-working employees, through no fault of their own, received notices of possible furlough due to coronavirus. We’re working on a bipartisan solution to fix the problem,” said Rep. Fortenberry.
You can read the official text of the draft legislation here.