A Senate committee was on Wednesday informed that the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will have to face tough times in the coming times while processing millions of undocumented immigrants who are expected to apply for legal protection under the recent announcements on immigration by President Barack Obama.
The US government agency could be plagued by the undue rise in workload later this year, former USCIS deputy ombudsman Luke Bellocchi said in prepared testimony, adding, the pressure on the agency is high even if it hires 1,000 extra employees as planned.
USCIS works on handling the visa applications for immigrants and petitions related to naturalization.
According to Bellocchi, USCIS is likely to receive a whopping 4.5 million additional applications in the coming months. USCIS has nearly 13,000 full-time officers as well as 5,000 contractors. Most of the immigration applications are dealt on paper, he said.
Obama’s executive actions on immigration, aiming to lift the deportation threat for millions of undocumented immigrants in the country, has brought USCIS at the center stage of a congressional battle over whether the Democratic President’s policies should be carried out amid huge opposition from Republicans.
Congressional Republicans claim that Obama has misused his executive powers after crossing the constitutional bounds.
As the legislative battle over immigration continues in Republican-controlled Congress, a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security seems to face the heat. President Obama and his party men are seeking Congress to clear the pending funding bill of Department of Homeland Security devoid of immigration restrictions, while citing the increased terrorist threats in the recent times.
The Department of Homeland Security, parent body of USCIS, will run out of funds at the end of February.