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Leahy: USCIS furloughs postponed

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Published: Jul. 24, 2020 at 1:02 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 24, 2020 at 6:38 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Thousands of federal immigration workers set to be furloughed next month, including several hundred in Vermont, have been given a reprieve.

Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, announced Friday that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agreed to postpone the furlough of the more than 13,000 workers through August 31. Upwards of 1,109 Vermonters who work for USCIS, primarily in St. Albans, were previously told they would be furloughed on August 3rd.

Leahy, chair of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee, says he pressed USCIS officials on new revenue estimates that show the agency ending the fiscal year in a surplus, and not the previously projected $571 million deficit. He says USCIS Acting Director Joseph Edlow told him Friday that the furloughs would be delayed.

“Furloughing thousands of public servants in the middle of a pandemic and at record unemployment would have upended the lives of the dedicated women and men working at USCIS and impacted thousands who rely on their services,” Leahy said in a statment. “I am committed to addressing this issue in the next coronavirus supplemental so that USCIS can continue accomplishing its missions without a furlough.”

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