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In the coming months, USCIS will be left without money: what to prepare for immigrants

In mid-May, the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approached Congress for $ 1,2 billion. Otherwise, a government agency owned by the US Department of Homeland Security will be left without funding until the end of summer, writes "Voice of America".

Photo: Shutterstock

The reason is a decrease in the number of applicants for visas and permits for permanent residence (green cards), and, as a result, the agency receives less funds from service fees that applicants pay.

The USCIS has not released data on how many visa applications and green cards have been received since the pandemic, but they recognize that their number is declining.

In late April, President Donald Trump unveiled U.S. Immigration Decree. It concerns applicants for a green card and parts of immigration visas. The restriction will last 60 days and will not apply to temporary workers. The purpose of the restrictions is to protect jobs in the US, the president explained.

The New York Times reported that Trump also considering ban on issuing work visas for highly skilled H-1B workers and for seasonal H-2B visas workers, the president also wants to ban foreign students from staying in the country and working for three years after graduation.

On the subject: Immigration and quarantine ban: DV-2020 green card lottery winners ask Trump for help

Unlike other government agencies, USCIS receives almost no federal funding from taxpayer money and depends on the fees of applicants for visas, work permits, green cards, and US citizenship. The coronavirus pandemic has already led to a drop in the number of people wishing to receive these documents, but according to forecasts, this number will fall by 61% by September.

Sarah Pierce, an expert at the Institute for Migration Policy, adds: “There is one interesting detail in the agency’s appeal to Congress. Since the start of the Trump administration, the agency has received fewer applications for visas - their number has decreased by almost 900. Therefore, their budget has been in crisis for a long time. It was easy to assume that they would turn to Congress for help, ”Pierce said.

At the same time, Jessica Vaughn, director of political studies at the Center for Migration Studies, notes that the lack of funds is also related to decisions of the previous administration.

“During the Obama administration, DACA immigrant visa recipients were allowed to pay half the fee. Asylum seekers receive their visas for free. The US has faced hundreds of thousands of asylum petitions from people who have arrived at the southwestern border during the immigration crisis in the past few years, ”Won said.

On the subject: Layoffs due to the crisis: what to do to immigrants who are in the USA on a work visa

In addition to a request for funding from the USCIS Congress plans to increase the cost of applications by another 10% - in addition to increasing visa fees at the beginning of the year.

The restriction of legal and illegal immigration to the United States refers to the campaign promises of Donald Trump. He consistently opposed the so-called "chain migration" for relatives and the diversification of the green card lottery.

In the U.S. immigration Service USCIS Immigration in the USA

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