USCIS requested $1.2 billion in aid from Congress

According to the US citizenship and immigration Services, he will run out of money by the end of the summer.

Over the past two months, immigration to the United States has almost stopped. The Trump administration closed the offices of the citizenship and immigration Services, consulates abroad, as well as the borders with Canada and Mexico. It imposed a 60-day ban on issuing new green cards. The presidential Declaration of April 22 States, among other things, that decisions on issuing green cards for which applicants applied outside the United States are deferred for 60 days; the issuance of immigration visas is suspended for 60 days; the Declaration does not apply to obtain visas submitted in the United States; the Declaration does not apply to visas for immigrant investors.

Jessica Vaughan, Director of policy research at the center for migration studies, notes that the current economic situation is behind the President’s Declaration, and he is committed to protecting the American labor market.

“The President stopped employment based on immigration visas and green cards due to the pandemic that caused the economic crisis in the United States and abroad. In the United States, tens of millions of Americans are out of work. The President understands that it will be complicated for new immigrants to find work. They will also compete with American citizens who do not have jobs,” she said in an interview.

According to Sarah Pierce, an expert at the American Institute of migration policy, President Trump regularly addresses the topic of immigration to rally his electoral base further.

“The US continues to deport citizens of other countries, because this is an important political issue for the President, although we know that we are also deporting coronavirus. The presidential Declaration does not matter much. By US immigration laws, those green cards that are not issued will be reallocated either this year or next to other applicants. The Declaration has more federal benefits than practical ones,” she said.

The US citizenship and immigration services, which requested financial assistance from Congress, did not release data on how many visa applications have been received since the beginning of the pandemic. However, the Department recognizes that their number is decreasing. The latest available data – from October 2019 to December 2019-showed a small spike in the name of visa applications.

“During the pandemic, the Agency suspended processing of many petitions, as well as personal communication with applicants. Visa fees also supplement the budget of the citizenship and immigration Service. However, there is one curious detail in the address to Congress. It consists in the fact that since the beginning of the Trump administration, the Agency receives fewer applications for visas – their number has decreased by almost 900,000. So their budget has already been in crisis for a long time. It was not difficult to predict that they would turn to Congress for help,” said Sarah Pierce.



Jessica Vaughan notes that the lack of funds is also related to decisions made by the previous administration in the field of immigration policy.

“The budget deficit is also explained by the fact that previous administrations allowed people to get visas without paying their full cost. USCIS is a Federal Agency that charges money for providing services. All their income, with one small exception, consists of fees when applying for immigration visas: green card, citizenship, or temporary visa. During the Obama administration, immigration visa applicants under the DACA program were allowed to pay half of the fee. Asylum seekers receive their visas free of charge. The US has faced hundreds of thousands of asylum petitions from people who arrived at the southwestern border during the immigration crisis in the past few years,” said Jessica Vaughan.

She adds that a combination of factors led to USCIS starting to run out of money.

“The citizenship and immigration service cannot increase visa fees unilaterally. You need to get permission from Congress,” explains the Director of policy research at the center for migration studies.

The presidential Declaration does not mean that immigration to the US will be stopped entirely, adds Jessica Vaughan.

“The President has no interest or desire to stop immigration to the United States completely. He talks a lot about how he wants to reform the system to make it better and serve our country and our economy. He believes that there are things that need to change. For example, he wants to reduce immigration based on family ties and focus on labor immigration of skilled workers. It is unlikely that Congress will radically change the immigration system, which will either increase or decrease the number of immigrants coming to the United States in the foreseeable future”.

Experts note that both the presidential Declaration and the lack of funding for the citizenship and immigration Services will not stop immigration to the United States, but will only significantly slow it down.