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Congressman Cleaver Continues Push For USCIS Funding to Save Thousands of Kansas City Jobs

Aug 7, 2020
Press Release

(Washington, D.C.) – This week, United States Representative Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO) continued his efforts to save thousands of workers in the Kansas City region from being furloughed. In a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Rep. Cleaver called on congressional leadership to ensure any coronavirus relief package passed by Congress include funding to keep the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) operational through the current fiscal year and into the first part of the next fiscal year.

In the letter sent to Speaker Pelosi today, Congressman Cleaver wrote:

“Although primarily funded through fee collection, since May USCIS has been reporting a funding shortfall and planning potential furloughs of over 13,400 federal employees and contractors around the nation, potentially impacting over 3,100 in Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District. While the funding shortfall did not begin with the coronavirus pandemic, supplemental funding is needed to continue the important work of administering the nation’s legal immigration system and to prevent further exacerbation of the current public health and economic crises.”

To ensure the funding is protected from political manipulation, Congressman Cleaver is also calling for specific guardrails to protect this funding from being diverted for other purposes. These guardrails include:

  • Prohibiting transfer authority of funds to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Customs and Border Patrol (CBP)
  • Repayment of funds through premium processing applications rather than an across-the-board fee increase for all applications
  • Reforming the fee structure to improve efficiency and address processing backlogs and ensure that USCIS has sufficient funding moving forward.

“As Congress continues negotiations to bring economic relief to Americans struggling to overcome the coronavirus pandemic, it’s absolutely crucial that funding for USCIS is included in any relief package passed by Congress,” said Congressman Cleaver. “These jobs are critical to the local economies in which these workers reside, and our legal immigration system is essential to businesses across the country who have specific short- or long-term staffing needs. Failure to keep this agency up and fully operational would be an unacceptable dereliction of duty on behalf of the U.S. Congress, and I’m hopeful congressional leadership will take note of that as negotiations proceed.”

You can read the official letter from Congressman Cleaver here.

 

Emanuel Cleaver, II is the U.S. Representative for Missouri's Fifth Congressional District, which includes Kansas City, Independence, Lee's Summit, Raytown, Grandview, Sugar Creek, Blue Springs, Grain Valley, Oak Grove, North Kansas City, Gladstone, Claycomo, and all of Ray, Lafayette, and Saline Counties. He is a member of the exclusive House Financial Services Committee; Chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, International Development, and Monetary Policy; member of the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress; member of the Committee on Homeland Security; and a Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus. For more information, please contact Matt Helfant at 202-590-0175 or Matthew.Helfant@mail.house.gov A high-resolution photo of Congressman Cleaver is available here.