The irony of all ironies
Felicia J. Persaud | 5/28/2020, midnight
Calling all immigrants. If you are looking for something to laugh at in this dreary time, read this headline from WorkPermit.com: “US Citizenship and Immigration Services on brink of collapse.”
Are you keeled over in laughter yet? According to the site and The New York Times, the USCIS, the U.S. agency within the Department of Homeland Security that administers the country’s naturalization and immigration system, is going broke.
No surprise to me but here is why—because the agency relies on the fees it charges for green card, naturalizations and U.S. visa applications from IMMIGRANTS, to fund its operations, and well, application processing and fees from the same immigrants the Trump administration wants to keep out, are now dwindling.
Let’s say that again: application fees from the same immigrants Trump wants to keep out are dwindling. Yes, you are allowed to LOL.
Of course, COVID-19 is also partly to be blamed because the USCIS arrogantly shut down operations since March and put a lot of immigrants’ lives in limbo. But I do believe the bigger reason is the hardline policy from President Hydroxychloroquine and his advisers like Herr Miller and Herr Cuccinelli.
Finally, things are starting to catch up to the USCIS, and the novel coronavirus is hastening its downfall, as it is the downfall of this administration.
The USCIS now claims that it could run out of money as early as this summer, with its receipts potentially dropping by more than 60% once the current fiscal year ends on Sept. 30, 2020.
A spokesperson for the agency was quoted as saying: “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, USCIS has seen a dramatic decrease in revenue.”
Now it wants Congress to give it a $1.2 billion cash injection and wants to further increase green card and visa costs by as much as 10% on top of previously proposed visa application fee increases in the coming months.
I say to Congress—Please do not!
For it was the acting USCIS director and Trump immigrant hardliner, Ken Cuccinelli, who has consistently stressed that the agency has a duty to uphold immigration laws over issuing U.S. visas and granting citizenship. To quote him: “USCIS is a vetting agency, not a benefit agency.”
So why is he now coming with a begging bowl to Congress for taxpayer dollars?
Further, Cuccinelli has used the USCIS money earned from hardworking immigrants he despises to invest heavily in resources to target fraud including looking at already naturalized citizens, while adding new elements to its visa adjudication process, including in-person interviews for thousands of employment- and marriage-based green card applicants.
Yet he failed to realize that the agency needs immigrants as much as they need the service as it was depending on visa fees paid by applicants for the 2020 fiscal year to cover the bulk of its expenditure, which is 97% of its $4.8 billion budget.
The chickens sure have come home to roost, Cuccinelli, please let President Tweety give the USCIS a bailout from his billions, or maybe he can ask China or Mexico?
Well, I think we both know what that answer would be. But seriously Congress, if you want the immigrant vote come November, let the USCIS bail itself out.
There are much better uses for taxpayer money right now, including the most critical—helping the millions of poor taxpayers who are without a job or a paycheck, in line for basic food items, and in desperate need of a massive bailout.
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.