Plan to furlough thousands of federal immigration workers canceled

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Published: Aug. 25, 2020 at 2:16 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 25, 2020 at 2:20 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has canceled plans to furlough more than 13,000 federal immigration workers, including hundreds here in Vermont.

The furloughs were set to go into effect on August 30. They would have affected as many as 1,100 Vermonters who work for the USCIS, primarily in St. Albans.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont, announced on Tuesday the furloughs are canceled. Leahy is vice-chair of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee and said he repeatedly pressed the Trump administration on the matter.

The furloughs were originally planned for August 3 but were temporarily delayed after Leahy said he pressed USCIS officials on new revenue estimates that show the agency ending the fiscal year with a surplus, not the previously projected $571 million deficit.

In a statement, Leahy said: “It is welcome news that these women and men will be able to continue to assist the thousands of United States Citizens, employers, and students in Vermont and around the country who rely on the work of USCIS and would have been impacted by the loss of services. But the emotional strain placed on these members of our communities who did not know when their next paycheck would come was a completely needless crisis imposed by the Trump Administration. I look forward to continuing to work on a long term solution to ensure the solvency of this vital agency into the future.”

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