The U.S. Citizenship and immigration Services is running out of funds and may have to furlough employees before the end of summer. The agency has asked Congress for a $1.2 billion bailout. The agency claims that the decline is due to the COVAD 19 pandemic, but some commentators see additional causes..
The Citizenship and Immigration Services receives very little in taxpayer dollars, instead the agency depends on fees associated with filing applications for temporary visas, resident status and citizenship. An agency spokesperson said that applications may drop by over 60% by September. It is true that during the period that Citizenship and Immigration Services offices were closed during the months of March through May there were a significant decline in applications. However, I believe that the declines started more than a year ago as President Trump's restrictions on immigration scared away individuals that qualify for immigration benefits but were afraid to apply because of the anti-immigrant stance of the administration. Trump's closing of the borders from China, Mexico, Canada and most of Western Europe has also decreased the number of people that might submit applications for benefits. The closures have affected even lawful residents of the United States that may not be able to return if in the past 14 days they were in a country that is on the restrictions list. In a way, the administration has restrict or intimidated so many foreign individuals from coming to the United States or applying for lawful status or citizenship that President Trump is close to shutting down the agency that grants immigration benefits. This is a victory for the administration that has long sought to decrease all forms of legal immigration to the United States.
In addition to emergency funding from Congress the Citizenship and Immigration Services is planning a fee increase of approximately 10% on the most common applications.