Last year, the General Services Administration (GSA) announced it planned to move the Twin Cities USCIS office to a location lacking public transportation options; since then, the lawmakers have repeatedly pressed USCIS and GSA leaders to find an alternative location with adequate public transportation options
Klobuchar recently introduced legislation – cosponsored by Franken in the Senate and introduced by Ellison in the House – to prevent GSA from making the same error in the future; bill would require GSA to verify that the public transit requirement specified in a lease solicitation is met and that public transportation runs regularly throughout the business hours of the building
WASHINGTON, DC – After a major push from U.S. Senators Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken and Representative Keith Ellison, the General Services Administration (GSA) announced that it has abandoned its original plan to move the Twin Cities U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) office to an out-of-the-way location, and will instead restart the process and seek an alternative site that is accessible by public transportation. Last year, the GSA announced it planned to move the USCIS office to a location that lacked public transportation options. Since then, Klobuchar, Franken, and Ellison have repeatedly pressed GSA and USCIS leaders to find an alternative site with adequate public transportation options. Klobuchar recently introduced legislation – cosponsored by Franken in the Senate and introduced by Ellison in the House – to prevent this from happening again. The Government Services Accessibility Act would require GSA to verify that the public transit requirement specified in a lease solicitation is met and that public transportation runs regularly throughout the business hours of the building.
“Moving the Twin Cities office to an out-of-the-way location made no sense and would have placed a needless burden on families who need USCIS’s services the most,” said Klobuchar. “While the proposed relocation should never have gotten this far in the first place, I’m pleased that GSA responded to our calls to restart the process, and I will continue pushing to pass my legislation to prevent similar mistakes from happening in the future.”
“Immigration Services helps so many people in Minnesota every year, and we need to make sure that their offices are actually accessible to those they serve,” said Franken. “I’ve been working hard to make sure that the relocated Immigration Services building is in an area convenient to public transit, and I’m very glad the GSA listened to my concerns. As this process continues, I’ll keep pressing for our commonsense bill to stop this from happening again.”
“I applaud GSA’s recent decision to relocate the USCIS St. Paul Field Office to a transit friendly location. The decision to keep the USCIS office in an accessible location reflects GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini’s responsive and cooperative leadership,” said Ellison. “He has assured me he is eager to find a new location that is accessible by public transportation and makes more sense for our community. In the course of my advocacy, I’ve encountered systemic problems regarding public outreach and input, transparency and communication by the GSA Great Lakes Region office in Chicago. I shared these concerns with Mr. Tangherlini and am confident he will address them. I will continue to remind and encourage GSA and all government agencies to engage with local communities when considering action that will impact the public.”
The Government Services Accessibility Act would require the GSA, before entering into a lease, to verify that the building location meets any public transportation distance requirement specified in its lease solicitation and that public transportation runs regularly throughout the normal business hours of the building. Klobuchar, Franken, and Ellison were also recently joined by Representatives Peterson, McCollum, Walz, and Nolan in sending a letter calling on the GSA to halt the proposed move and explore alternatives. The letter also requested answers to a number of questions stemming from the recent stakeholder meeting.