USCIS Averts Furlough, but Backlogs Increased
Due to budget shortfalls, USCIS previously announced that about 13,000 of its employees would be furloughed after August 30th due to severe budget shortfalls. On August 25th, USCIS averted furloughs for its workforce, ordering employees to continue working at their previous positions. USCIS explains that after implementing aggressive cuts in its spending, the agency will operate normally until at least the end of FY 2021.
Joseph Edlow, USCIS Deputy Director for Policy, states that to avert this furlough, the agency has made great efforts to reduce its spendings. The most direct impacts of this decision are backlogs, large increases in case waiting times, etc. It is also not guaranteed that no other furloughs will be implemented in the future.
This means that although USCIS has just recently dramatically raised processing fees for multiple petitions, petitioners will still encounter processing times even longer than before.
Although USCIS is under normal operations and will not be furloughing its employees, the processing time is not guaranteed to return to normal. If you are filing a petition recently, please keep this matter in mind and expect to encounter delays during your filing process.