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Community Report: 1,000+ St. Albans, Essex Customs Workers To Be Furloughed

Sen. Patrick Leahy at a podium with other lawmakers
Jose Luis Magana
Associated Press File
Sen. Patrick Leahy, seen here in this Jan. 9, 2020 photo, confirmed more than 1,000 USCIS employees will be furloughed from Vermont offices in St. Albans and Essex.

Earlier this week, Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy confirmed that more than 1,000 employees who work for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in St. Albans and Essex would be furloughed in August.

The St. Albans Messenger executive editor Michelle Monroe spoke with VPR about her reporting on issue.

Monroe said that back in May, that the nationwide offices were working under an enormous budget shortfall. She noted the offices are funded by the fees they charge for processing applications for citizenship and visa requests.

She added that while the Trump administration says the shortfall is due to the coronavirus, critics of the president, like Leahy, say it is also the result of the administration's policies that have actively sought to discourage immigration, and in some cases, try to ban it.

"The UCSIC is down $1.2 billion, and is now laying off about 75% of its staff," Monroe said. "That includes 65% of the people here in Vermont."

People have begun to receive those notices this week, she said, and the furloughs are due to begin August 3.

Read Michelle Monroe's reporting in The St. Albans Messenger below:

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