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Immigration-services cuts are wrongheaded, unnecessary. [Orlando Sentinel; by Norma Henning, Esq.]

By By Norma Henning, Esq., For Orlando Sentinel, On 05 August 2020, Read Original

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(Tampa, Fla,, 8/5/2020) If the Trump administration gets their way, 13,000 American citizens working for the U.S. immigration authorities will soon join the ranks of the unemployed, ostensibly because USCIS does not have enough money to pay their wages.  That’s roughly 70% of the agency’s workforce who will be filing unemployment claims, further adding to the strain the country is already feeling. The reason articulated by the Trump Administration for this “necessity” is that the immigration service supposedly cannot meet payroll. Few things could be further from the truth. 

 USCIS is a federal agency … but it is funded by the filing fees paid by US petitioners and immigrant applicants. Filing fees are enormous – thousands of dollars – for each family member or for employees paid by US persons for the hard work of going through the applications.  In addition, petitioners pay fees that go toward fraud detection and that are used to train U.S. workers so that the employers do not have to spend thousands of dollars to bring people in from overseas. Those fees are paid in advance with the filing of the applications. The agency is running at a surplus.

 Despite this, the new acting head of the Department of Homeland Security, Chad Wolfe, the guy who claims he does not need invitations to bring Federal troops into your city to “keep the peace,” decided to send pinks slips to 13,000 federal employees during one of the worst unemployment crises in U.S. history when USCIS is well funded with fees paid by applicants and petitioners – money paid upfront for work owed that won’t be performed by people who will have to apply for unemployment benefits.  Where is the surplus going?  Who knows?  I have been wondering how we are paying the unmarked hired guns and DHS/ICE troops and how we’re outfitting them with all that military gear needed to provoke protesters and arrest graffiti artists. And who is paying them to deploy into cities run by people who are at odds with the current administration – Chicago, NY?  Housing and feeding these stormtroopers, building mock cities to train them in urban warfare and renting vehicles to abduct peaceful protesters must also cost a pretty penny.  Is that why USCIS is “running out of money.”

 Senators Leahy and Tester pointed out the “calculation mistake” in a letter to Chad, causing him to delay the effective date of the purge. They articulate this well – based not only on the hardships that these employees and their families will experience - but also on the chaos that shutting down USCIS will cause to the administration and adjudication of immigration petitions and to workplace enforcement. Lawful applications for family members, the people who did the right thing (i.e. NOT the criminal aliens we are allegedly going after) and spent thousands to comply with our convoluted immigration laws will languish – already paid for. This is simply unacceptable, and we cannot sit by as American institutions are systematically destroyed and defunded for no reason other than incompetence or political theatre.