Immigration Lawyer Portland Oregon News

On Wednesday, President Biden issued an executive order ending Proclamation 10014, the Trump-era ban on new green cards during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Proclamation 10014 was issued by former President Trump in April at the start of the coronavirus pandemic to bar the issuance of visas at U.S. Consulates and Embassies abroad and limit the entry of certain noncitizen classes. In June, Trump signed a new executive order (Proclamation 10052) which extended Proclamation 10014 and added new restrictions for nonimmigrant workers who supposedly pose a risk of disadvantaging U.S. workers during the coronavirus recovery. This includes nonimmigrant workers on H-1B, H-2B, J, and L visas. This order was rationalized by the need to protect U.S. jobs amid high unemployment rates caused by the pandemic. Critics of Trump have accused him of using the pandemic as an excuse to fuel his political agenda of restricting immigration. Many studies rebuke the idea that immigration threatens American jobs.

Yesterday, Biden overturned the measure by way of executive order. In his order, he wrote that rather than advancing the interests of the U.S., the Trump-era ban “harms the United States, including by preventing certain family members of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents from joining their families here.”

The Migration Policy Institute estimates that about 26,000 people monthly were prevented from getting green cards since the ban was implemented in April 2020.

Biden also denounced the Trump-era policies for harming U.S. industries that utilize expertise from individuals of various countries of origin. Proclamation 10014 has also been criticized for preventing individuals who received immigrant visas through the Fiscal Year 2020 Diversity Visa Lottery from entering the U.S., which resulted in the delay and possible loss of their opportunity to receive their visas.

Proclamation 10014 was set to expire on March 31st, and human rights advocates have been calling for Biden to overturn this measure since he took office. While its overturn is a win for immigrant rights activists, there are concerns about how DHS will process these applications. The U.S. is currently facing a backlog of hundreds of thousands of visa applicants. One immigration lawyer admitted, “that backlog may take [Biden’s] entire first term to clear out, unless he is ambitious to doing something to solve that problem.” Boundless estimated that Trump’s ban could lead to a backlog of 358,000 green cards.

Under Biden’s new order, family members of U.S. citizens and green card holders will be able to now immigrate to the U.S. This also includes individuals who were selected to get visas through the visa lottery. Note, however, Vox reports that even though Biden is reversing Proclamation 10014, many foreign workers applying for temporary visas are still barred from entering the U.S. until at least March 31st, 2021. This includes H-1B skilled workers and their spouses applying for H-4 visas as their dependents. Foreigners transferring to the U.S. office of their multinational companies through L visas, as well as scholars on J-1 visas, are still banned for the time being. It is unclear when Biden will lift immigration restrictions for these visa applicants.

Since he took office, Biden has overturned many of Trump’s most well-known anti-immigration policies, like the so-called Muslim travel ban and he has started to process asylum seekers at the southern border subject to the Migration Protection Protocols, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy.

On Tuesday the 2nd, after a swearing-in ceremony for the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, President Biden signed three executive orders concerning a trio of pressing controversial immigration-related issues: reuniting migrant children separated from their families, rebuilding a functioning asylum system, and restoring opportunities for foreign workers and students to enter the United States. Biden’s aim with these orders is to address the “root causes” of migration to the U.S. and to begin a “full review of the previous administration’s harmful and counterproductive immigration policies.”

The first executive order concerns the creation of a new task force to work with the U.S. government, keys stakeholders, and representatives of impacted families to reunite parents and children separated by immigration enforcement in recent years. An estimated 611 children still remain separated from their parents since the Trump Administration imposed its “Zero Tolerance” policy enacted two years ago, which intended to deter unauthorized migration and prosecute illegal entries into the U.S. Biden’s task force will face many challenges, including the complication of having outdated contact information of many parents. Not only will the COVID-19 pandemic slow the searches for parents, but many of these parents were deported without their children.

The second executive order includes a revision of the Migrant Protection Protocols (also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy). While the Biden Administration has already committed to stop enrolling asylum-seekers in this program, thousands of asylum-seekers already enrolled in the program still wait in Mexico for their cases to be processed in the U.S. The new DHS, led by Secretary Mayorkas, will review the program. In addition, the executive order pushes for a re-imagination the asylum procedures. It calls for the end of damaging policies enacted by the prior administration — however, the executive order does not point to which specific policies are considered to be the most damaging to asylum-seekers.

The third executive order focuses on the legal immigration system of the U.S. and rescinds a Trump-era memo that requires family sponsors to repay the U.S. government if any relatives receive public benefits. The order includes a commitment to review all policies and regulations that have previously set up barriers to the U.S. legal immigration system, including the Trump Administration’s Public Charge rule dating to August 14th, 2019. This order also concerns the re-establishment of the Task Force on New Americans, which existed during former President Obama’s presidency. This task force focuses on integrating immigrants and refugees into American public life.

While President Biden contests the “America first” narrative perpetuated by the former Trump administration, immigration advocates caution that Biden’s policies will not result in immediate transformative changes. For instance, Biden’s government is hesitant to open up the U.S.-Mexico borders to the thousands of asylum-seekers waiting in Mexico under the Migration Protection Protocols. Administration officials argue that the asylum and refugee systems must be rebuilt in order to process such large influxes of people. Overall, many immigration advocates and legal organizations applauded this most recent trio of executive orders, but most also added that this was just a first step to undo the many harmful immigration policies issued by the previous U.S. administration.

After only a few days in office, President Biden has already issued various immigration-related executive orders, starting on inauguration day.

End of Muslim Travel Ban

Among the first of Biden’s executive orders was an end to the Muslim Travel ban, which could reunite tens of thousands of families who are separated across international borders. The 2017 Muslim Travel Ban of the previous Administration banned individuals from the following Muslim-majority countries from traveling to the U.S.: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. In 2020, the Trump Administration expanded the travel ban on Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Eritrea, Sudan, and Tanzania, although it only affected certain visas for residents in these countries. Biden’s Proclamation on Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States emphasizes that beyond contravening with American values of tolerance, pluralism, and coexistence, these travel bans undermined the U.S.’s national security, having jeopardized the U.S’s network of alliances.

DACA and Biden’s Immigration Reform  

The Biden’s U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 addresses the causes of migration, reformulates its border management, and most centrally, proposes a new path to citizenship. A central piece of Biden’s immigration reform bill is to offer 11 million undocumented immigrants an eight-year path to citizenship. This bill would give qualifying immigrants temporary legal status and offer them the chance to apply for green cards after five years if they meet certain requirements. After three more years, they become eligible to apply for citizenship.

If they meet certain requirements, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) holders, Temporary Protected Status recipients, and immigrant farmworkers would be immediately eligible for a green card. All applicants must have been in the U.S. on January 1st, 2021 to qualify under the proposed bill, however.

Another central piece of Biden’s bill addresses the root causes of migration. The bill funds a $4 billion interagency plan constituting aid for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in order to bolster these countries’ efforts to reduce corruption, violence, and poverty.

Final aspects of Biden’s immigration bill include an increase of U-visa cap to 30,000. Additionally, Biden proposes to change all references of aliens to non-citizens.

Border Wall

Biden also revoked Trump’s 2018 declaration of a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border, in which he diverted billions of dollars to barrier construction. This proclamation allows for an immediate pause in border wall construction. As you may remember, Trump ultimately only built a small fraction of the promised 452 miles, most of which replaced already-established fencing, and was never funded by Mexico.

Instead, turning away from the border wall, Biden’s immigration reform bill focuses on enhanced technology to bolster security at the U.S. southern border. While officials did not release any specifics on the timeline or budget for increased technology and infrastructure at the southern border.

Deportation Pause
President Biden also issued a 100-day pause on most deportations in order to first establish a review of policies and practices of current immigration enforcement. This pause will also aim to allow the DHS to focus its resources where they are most needed.

Small Note on DHS  

President Biden has selected Alejandro Mayorkas to be the secretary for the Department of Homeland Security, as the agency’s first Latino candidate. Mayorkas stated he won’t abolish ICE, despite calls from immigrant rights activists, and that he would review pandemic-era restrictions on immigration at the border, according to Reuters. Supporters of his appreciate his moral compass, demonstrated by his opposition to separating families at the U.S.-Mexico border under the Obama Administration.

More immigration-related executive actions will likely occur in the coming week. While these immigration changes have been swift, the former president took more than 400 immigration-related executive actions, all of which didn’t have Congress’ input, which will take time to reverse.


Today, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services announced that it will replace the sticker that is currently issued to green card holders to extend the validity of their Permanent Resident Card Form (I-551) with a revised Form I-797, Notice of Action for Form I-90, Application to Replace Permanent Resident Card.

Typically, green card holders in Portland, Oregon, file Form I-90 when their green card is close to expiration. A revised I-797 receipt notice in addition to an applicant’s Permanent Resident Card Form I-551, will act as temporary evidence of lawful permanent resident status for twelve months from the expiration date on the face of a green card. Note that the Form I-797 revision will serve as a green card holder’s receipt notice for Form I-90. This change will ensure that applicants in Portland, Oregon who have green cards with a pending Form I-90 to replace an expiring green card have identity documentation, employment authorization, and authorization to return to Portland, Oregon if outside of the country. Also, keep in mind that green card applicants who have already been scheduled for a biometrics appointment at the USCIS Field Office located in NW Portland, won’t receive a revised notice and will receive an extension sticker at their scheduled biometrics appointment.

Starting this month, green card applicants who file Form I-90 here in Oregon, to replace an expiring green card will obtain a revised receipt notice by mail approximately 7-10 days after USCIS accepts their application.

On the other hand, applicants with expiring green cards will not receive stickers from the Applicant Support Center (ASC) at their biometrics appointments to obtain temporary evidence of legal status. Instead, USCIS will send these applicants a revised Form I-797, Notice of Action, the receipt notice for Form I-90, as proof of the extension of their green card.

If you would like more information about this change, please contact us today.

The Oregon Legislature passed the House Bill 2015 called “Driver Licenses for All” during the 2019 legislative session, which removes the requirement that individuals must prove that they are legally present when they apply for a standard Oregon driver license, permit, or ID card. Eligible individuals can also apply for a motorcycle or farm endorsement without proving that they are legal residents. This means that immigrants in Portland, Oregon waiting to receive immigration benefits before applying for licenses no longer have to wait and can schedule an appointment soon.

This change will go into effect on January 1st, 2021. This bill will likely lead to increased demand for appointments at DMV offices. In preparation, DMV has opened about 200,000 new customer appointment slots for January and February 2021.

To schedule an appointment, go to, where you can schedule in-person services.

Note, however, that individuals applying for a driver license must provide proof of full legal name, date of birth, Oregon residency, and a Social Security number. If you do not have a Social Security number, you can confirm this when you apply for your card at the DMV.

If you are applying for the first time, you must pass additional requirements, like a vision test, knowledge test, and driving behind-the-wheel test.

We at Immigration Law Group, are happy to help you apply for your immigration benefits and this is another positive news that will help immigrants in the near future. Contact us today at (866)691-9894.

Immigration Lawyers in Portland Oregon can help initial DACA applicants

Yesterday afternoon, a federal district judge ordered the Trump administration to reinstate the Obama-era DACA program. Those protected under the DACA program are commonly known as “Dreamers.” This program currently enrolls about 650,000 individuals. Immigration Lawyers in Portland Oregon have not been able to help new DACA applicants apply over the past few years because of this current Administration’s limitations. Up to 300,000 additional undocumented immigrant teens and young adults could be allowed to apply to DACA under this court ruling. DACA, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was created by Obama in 2012. It has protected over 800,000 eligible non-citizens from deportation and has allowed these individuals to live and work in the United States legally.

In the new case of Batalla Vidal v. Wolf, Judge Nicholas Garaufis of the Brooklyn district court ordered the Trump administration to allow newly eligible immigrants to file new DACA applications. This reverses Department of Homeland and Security (DHS) secretary Chad Wolf’s July memorandum that restricted the program to only those who were already enrolled.

Judge Garaufis has instructed the U.S. DHS to publish a public notice by Monday that indicates that DHS will accept and adjudicate all new DACA petitions from eligible immigrants who are not currently enrolled in the program. Garaufis also noted that officials must grant approved DACA applicants two-year work permits, rather than the one-year permits proposed by the Trump administration this summer.

This November 2020, Garaufis issued another ruling in which he found that DHS’s acting secretary Chad Wolf did not have the legal authority to shut down DACA for new applicants or to shorten the validity of DACA-recipients’ work permits from two years to one. At the time, Garaufis said that Wold’s appointment to DHS was unlawful because it violated the 2002 Homeland Security Act. Congress’ Government Accountability Office also determined Wolf’s appointment to be invalid in August.

As we approach January 20th, President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to fully restore the DACA program after his inauguration. But if Garaufis’ order still stands, Biden’s goal would have already been completed. However, Biden continues to face pressure from immigrant rights groups to overhaul the U.S.’s existing immigration system to reform its laws to further support DACA recipients and other undocumented immigrants.

While this order is a beautiful victory for DACA recipients and potential eligible petitioners, many Republican-led states are pushing U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen to declare the program unlawful and to terminate it. Hanen has previously blocked Obama’s 2014 expansion of DACA and also blocked the creation of another program meant to protect undocumented parents of U.S. green card holders and citizens from deportation. Look out for Hanen’s hearing on this case, scheduled for December 22nd.

Furthermore, the Trump administration could appeal the ruling by Judge Garaufis in the coming days. Immigration advocates certainly hope that the administration won’t pursue this legal fight to end the program, given that a new Democratic administration is soon to take over.

If you would like to apply for DACA contact our Immigration Lawyers in Portland, Oregon, contact us soon at (866)691-9894.

Immigration Lawyer Portland

On November 13th, USCIS announced its plans to implement a revised civics test for U.S. citizenship applicants. According to their memo last week, USCIS has revised this test “as part of a decennial update to ensure that it remains an instrument that comprehensively assesses applicants’ knowledge of American history, government and civic values.” USCIS had originally announced these plans in July 2019.

The new civics test must be taken orally and consists of 128 questions and answers. The test officer will ask an applicant 20 questions of the total 128, and an applicant must answer at least 12 questions correctly to pass the 2020 version of the civics portion of the naturalization test.

The previous test consisted of a total of 10 questions from a bank of 100 civics questions, and an applicant had to correctly answer 6 of the 10 questions. In this previous test, the civic portion of the test ended as soon as the applicant answered 6 of the questions correctly. However, in this revised test, the officer must ask all 20 questions, even if the applicant answers 12 correctly before the end of the exam. Note, however, that applicants who are 65 years or older and have permanently lived in the U.S. for at least 20 years will be asked 10 questions and must answer at least six correctly in order to pass the new test.

Don L. Fisher, who has spent the past 10 years teaching classes to immigrants preparing classes for their citizenship test, summarized the new test, “The exam is longer, requires more answers and more detailed answers.”

The U.S. civics test is taken by applicants for the U.S. Citizenship, and is a requirement for becoming naturalized as a U.S. citizen. This updated test will be taken by applicants who apply for naturalization on or after December 1st, 2020. If you have applied for citizenship before December 1st, you will take the current version of the test.

According to their November 13th memo, USCIS conducted pilot tests with volunteers and community organizations across the country. Using this pilot data, USCIS made choices about language and grammatical structure of every test item and determined the linguistic and cognitive weight of every test item as well.
The content of this revised test has also been altered. All the questions about U.S. geography, including oceans, rivers and states have been removed. Rather, the revised test includes more questions about politics, about the presidency, Congress and Supreme Court, and a bit about the U.S. founding fathers.
Certain updated answers to questions have sparked criticism. For instance, question number 31 asks, “Who does a U.S. senator represent?” In the 2008 version of the civics test, the answer to this question was “All people of the state.” But in the 2020 version, the answer is “Citizens of their state.” This seems to target and marginalized undocumented individuals in the United States.
Many community organizations and immigration activists have criticized these changes to the civics test. Eva Millona, CEO and President of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition said that the revised test is “another example of the Trump Administration seeking to put barriers to citizenship with little opportunity for input from communities that will be most impacted.” Millona is hopeful that the Biden Administration will reverse this change to civics tests. Many activists push for immigrants to take the civics test before December 1st if possible.
If you are planning to apply for citizenship on or after December 1st, 2020, consider the test items and study guides that are found on the Citizenship Resource Center on the USCIS website. There is a 2020 Civics Test Practice posted on the USCIS website with 128 questions. There is also an updated USCIS Policy Manual (PDF, 323.82 KB). For the English and Civics testing, see Volume 12, Part E, English and Civics Testing and Exceptions, Chapter 2, English and Civics Testing.

If you are interested in applying for U.S. citizenship, now is the time to apply!   Contact us today at (866) 691-9894.

Throughout President Trump’s four years in office, over 400 executive and regulatory actions on immigration have taken place to make it even more challenging for foreign nationals to immigrate to the United States. However, as the U.S. will soon transition away from a Trump administration with Joe Biden’s upcoming presidency, there are several key issues to which a Biden-Harris administration will apply a different approach which will have a direct impact on immigration cases your immigration lawyers are representing you on in Portland, Oregon.

Thus far, President-elect Biden has said that he will make a set of executive orders to reverse many of Trump’s previous immigration laws. It’s likely that cancelling the 2017 travel ban from 11 Muslim-majority countries, along with reinstating the Obama-era DACA program, will be central priorities and allow many individuals separated from loved ones to get immigrant visas and green cards. Additionally, during the third presidential debate, Biden claimed that within his first 100 days in office, he will send a comprehensive immigration reform bill to Congress.


Keep in mind, though: many immigration analysts have said that reversing Trump-era immigration laws will take time. While rescinding President Trump’s travel ban can be easily done since they were issued by executive order and presidential proclamation, lawsuits may delay the process. Sarah Pierce of the Migration Policy Institute announced, “We’re about to see the pace of immigration changes slow down significantly.” This is especially true now, as Biden will have tremendous work to do as soon as he enters office to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.


Immigration and COVID-19?  

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trump Administration has implemented many pandemic-related travel restrictions. Biden has criticized some of these in the past when speaking about immigration, calling many of these travel bans “xenophobic.” Thus far,, Biden hasn’t clearly stated whether he plans to reverse these immediately upon entering the office.

Refugee and Asylum Seeking

The Migration Policy Institute’s new policy brief analyzes the incoming administration’s main immigration priorities and predicts both challenges and opportunities of the Biden-Harris approach. The brief highlights that Biden plans to raise refugee resettlement from 2020 current record low of 15,000 to 125,000. Biden also says that he will raise funding to the operational capacity of the nonprofits that resettle refugees, which will help increase resettlement. Experts from the Migration Policy Institute have reported that Biden may adopt its policy recommendation to allow asylum officers to screen migrants for asylum and adjudicate their cases to completion, which would help to minimize court backlogs and speed up the entire process.

The Biden-Harris administration has also promised that it will halt border wall construction and revive the asylum process that the Trump administration has nearly stopped. Furthermore, Biden has said that he would end the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols policy, which is often called the “Remain in Mexico” policy. Trump’s August 2020 policy that requires asylum seekers to wait 365 days before applying for work permit eligibility will also likely be reversed.

Biden has also proposed to exempt U.S. graduates of Ph.D. STEM programs from visa caps. He has also proposed to provide foreign graduates of U.S. doctoral programs a green card upon obtaining their degree. This automatic granting of green cards to graduates would reduce the number of applicants waiting for their green card petitions, and would also incentivize brilliant students from abroad to study in the U.S. and remain in the country as an employer after their studies, which would in turn benefit the American economy.

K-1 Fiancé Visas

K-1 Fiancee visa cases are currently being processed in a very slow manner, if at all, under the Trump administration. Since March 2020, the Trump administration suspended the routine processing of visas, including the halting of all K-1 visa processing. Once we have President-elect Biden in power, it is expected that this arbitrary decision to halt K-1 visa processing will be reversed. Of course, the pandemic will intervene with routine processing, and may intervene with consulates’ normal functioning.


Business-Related Immigration
The Biden administration will collaborate with Congress to raise the number of employment-based visas. The current annual employment cap of 140,000 visas, many argue, is a hindrance to the market. The Biden-Harris administration also the elimination of country caps on employment-visas as well. This would decrease the currently long backlogs for immigrants from certain countries. For instance, because of current per-country limits, certain employment-based green card applicants could wait decades.

The Biden-Harris campaign has also suggested that it may reform existing visa programs for temporary workers. These include agricultural, seasonal and highly skilled workers. Such reforms would include increasing the number of temporary visas available every year. Biden has also proposed to create a new visa category that could stimulate local and regional economic development, although details about this are still vague. He may also redirect federal funds from the border wall to other border enforcement and security needs.

If you have questions about these important immigration legal changes, contact us today at (866)691-9894 and speak to our Portland Immigration Lawyer.

Court Blocks USCIS Fee Increases

On the 29th of September, 2020, a federal judge in California granted a motion for the preliminary injunction of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) updated fee schedule. This fee schedule was set to go into effect on October 2nd, 2020, and would have increased filing fees for certain immigration and naturalization benefit requests. International studies, new U.S. citizens, and businesses would have been impacted.

DHS has originally announced the final rule on July 31st, 2020, which included a weighted average fee increase of 20 percent. Changes to filing fees included a new $50.00 fee for asylum seekers and an 80% increase for naturalization services. A $10 registration fee requirement was added for the filing of H-1B petitions on behalf of cap-subject aliens. I-765 Application for Employment Authorization fees would have increased by $140 and I-485 Application to Register Permanent Residence fees would have reduced by $10 to amount to $1,130. USCIS had said that these price increases were necessary to support the agency as it suffered from a budget shortfall. Many immigration activists and human rights organizations denounced the rule soon after it was issued, criticizing that the rule pushed lower-income individuals outside of the U.S. immigration system.

Northern California U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White issued the nationwide injunction yesterday, banning Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and USCIS officials from implementing the July 31st Final Rule. Co-founder of Boundless Immigration Doug Rand explained that as long as this preliminary injunction is in place, USCIS will not be able to raise its fees as it had planned. It is likely that the U.S. government will appeal the Ninth Circuit court to obtain a stay, says Doug Rand, although it is unclear as to how long this will take.

In his ruling of Immigrant Legal Resource Center, et al. v. Chad F. Wolf, et al., Judge White wrote, “Plaintiffs persuasively argue that the public interest would be served by enjoining or staying the effective date of the Final Rule because if it takes effect, it will prevent vulnerable and low-income applicants from applying for immigration benefits, will block access to humanitarian protections, and will expose those populations to further danger.”


Judge White ruled that the case’s plaintiffs, composed of eight non-profit organizations that serve immigrants, showed that:

  1. DHS was not serving under the Homeland Security Act;
  2. The final rule violates procedural and substantive requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), which included, “failing to disclose data, relying on unexplained data and ignoring data on the record,” according to the final rule. DHS had argued that individuals would apply for immigration services no matter how expensive USCIS filing fees are, which contradicted the statements that appeared during DHS’s comment period;
  3. The final rule was arbitrary and capricious, as it failed to consider the negative impacts on low-income immigrant populations;
  4. The government did not provide reasoned justification for the policy shift in which fee waivers were eliminated and fees were increased; and
  5. By implementing a fee for asylum seekers to deter frivolous applications, USCIS relied on factors that Congress had not intended for DHS to consider. This, again, violates the APA.

Judge White rejected the Trump Administration’s request for a brief administrative stay, writing that, “A stay beyond October 2, 2020, would allow the Final Rule to go into effect, thereby altering the status quo.” Note that this ruling temporarily halts the fee increases until the merits of the case are decided as a whole. Therefore, there remains the possibility that USCIS’s filing fees will go up in the future.


On the 25th of August, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it would cancel the scheduled furlough of about 13,400 of its employees. USCIS justifies this decision by citing “unprecedented spending cuts” as well as a “steady increase in daily incoming revenue and receipts.” The agency expects to maintain operations through the end of the 2020 fiscal year. In a recently published announcement, USCIS notes that aggressive spending reduction measures will impact all agency operations and agency contracts.

The USCIS deputy director for policy, Joseph Edlow, said in a statement that, “averting this furlough comes at a severe operational cost that will increase backlogs and wait times across the board, with no guarantee we can avoid future furloughs.” The deputy director emphasized that congressional intervention is still crucial to sustain the agency through the 2021 fiscal year, particularly since USCIS averted the furloughs scheduled for August 30th. This furlough was delayed numerous times before the final cancellation.

These furloughs would have drastically halted the immigration system. Not only would they have caused a standstill to essential services, but they would also have adversely impact millions of legal immigrants and U.S. citizens. This would be a detriment to the already-stalled U.S. economy. As USCIS has received fewer immigration applications filed over the past few months, USCIS’s revenue has also decreased. This budgetary restraint has led to a pause in the printing of 50,000 green cards and 75,000 worker permits.

Previously, the slow-moving pace of Congress’ plans about the next COVID-19 relief bill discouraged USCIS, as this funding has yet to be obtained by the federal agency. Notably, USCIS originally requested $1.2 billion in funding from Congress.

Fortunately, this past weekend, the House of Representatives unanimously introduced the Emergency Stopgap USCIS Stabilization Act, which would have temporarily kept USCIS afloat, although this legislation has yet to be passed by the U.S. Senate. This provides some hope that USCIS has caught Congress’ attention, and that subsequent funding may be allocated to USCIS with future bills.