Congress has until February 27 to approve the funding for the Department of Homeland Security. If the funding doesn’t come through, will international students be affected?
First of all, it was just a few months ago that Congress approved the U.S. budget. Didn’t that include funding for the Department of Homeland Security?
Congress did approve a $1.1 trillion spending bill in December 2014, but they intentionally left the funding for Homeland Security to expire February 27 because of the controversy surrounding immigration policies. Republicans want a bill that doesn’t fund President Obama’s executive actions that would prevent millions from being deported. Democrats believe the president is acting within his authority.
It couldn’t be figured out back in December, so now there is only five days left to figure out funding for Homeland Security and neither party can agree on immigration policies.
So will you be affected if funding can’t be agreed upon by Friday? The short answer, probably not.
Most Immigration Functions Will Continue
Most immigration functions are handled through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and this is funded by the fees people pay for visa applications and renewals. So this means USCIS is NOT dependent on money from Congress. However, the one immigration function that would be affected would be E-Verify. Employers use this to check the immigration status of employees. Most employees at USCIS and Custom and Border Protection (CBP) will still report to work.
But who will be affected if DOH is not funded?
Most DHS employees go to work, but won’t get paid
About 230,000 people work for Homeland Security, most of them are considered essential and must go to work even if they won’t get paid. Those people include aviation security and maritime security. Around 30,000 people would be laid off.
States and local governments
Essential functions will continue, however, states and local governments could be affected. Money through grants are awarded to local law enforcements, commissioners, and sheriffs.
FEMA employees-report for duty
Those FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) works who aren’t funded through Congress will report. But 80% of workers would stay home.
The Secret Service can’t hire new agents to protect 2016 presidential nominees
Most Secret Service agents would report to work if DOH isn’t funded. However, they won’t be able to hire any new agents for the next presidential election.