WASHINGTON – Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) are calling on lawmakers to provide emergency funding for the more than 13,000 U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) workers on the verge of being furloughed.
The 45,000 TSOs, represented by the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) and the AFGE TSA Council 100, say furloughing thousands of Americans during a global health crisis would be detrimental to workers and their ability to care for their families.
“It would be disastrous for another 13,000 Americans to be forced into unemployment lines during this fragile time,” said AFGE TSA Council 100 President Hydrick Thomas.
Many USCIS workers have continued the work of their agency throughout the pandemic by working from home and remotely. These employees have done nothing to create the budget shortfall the agency is in, yet they are unfairly bearing the brunt.
Unlike most federal agencies, USCIS is funded by user fees. Due to a funding shortfall partially attributed to the coronavirus outbreak, the agency will have to furlough more than 70 percent of its workforce starting Aug. 3 if Congress doesn’t provide emergency funding.
“As a workforce that has been on the frontlines throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we recognize the hard work and dedication of our fellow Homeland Security workers at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency during these trying times,” said Thomas.
AFGE TSA officers say their work at Homeland Security goes hand in hand with the work of USCIS employees.
“Together, we make our country safer and keep our travel-dependent economy rolling,” said Thomas. “We need USCIS workers on the job.”
AFGE is calling on Congress to act now and approve funding for the agency in order to keep hardworking Americans on the job.