As many people are aware, the United States federal government is currently in a shutdown because of the Trump administration’s demands for funding in order to secure the U.S.-Mexico border. This shutdown not only affects government employees, but the millions of immigrants within the United States as well.
Both the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice are feeling the effects of the government shutdown. Presently, all employees within the Executive Office for Immigration Review, the deportation and removal court system within the Department of Justice, are off work except for those cases which involve detained aliens. This means that the 786,303 immigrants with pending removal hearings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review who are not detained are not afforded their day in court. Further, because all of the non-detained branches of the Executive Office for Immigration Review are closed, immigrants with pending removal proceedings and filing deadlines can neither file their requisite relief before the court nor receive any updates regarding their next hearing date before the immigration judges.
Thankfully, certain branches within the Department of Homeland Security are still open. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is mostly unaffected by the government shutdown because it is a primarily fee-funded service. This means that persons with pending citizenship interviews and adjustment of status appointments are still required to attend their appointments and will be permitted to become United States citizens and green card holders respectively. However, not all programs handled by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services are functioning. For example, E-Verify, the free internet-based system which employers can use to determine one’s eligibility to work within the United States, has suspended operation.
If you are currently affected by the government shutdown, consider scheduling an appointment with one of our immigration attorneys today.