Government Shutdown & Immigration

The recent government shutdown has affected some, BUT NOT ALL, immigration services.  Here's a summary of current status: 

Immigration Courts

  • Courts handling hearings for detained respondents are OPEN.  Courts handling hearings for non-detained respondents are CLOSED.  
  • Non-detained hearings that have been cancelled will have to be rescheduled when the government opens.  Individuals whose hearings have been cancelled should expect a long waiting period, but can try to file Motions to Advance. 
  • Courts handling detained cases do not have all their employees, and some judges may be working without their clerks.  
  • Detained courts are still taking filings.   
  • "Asylum clocks," which affects eligibility for work authorization, may re-start for those asylum seekers whose cases were scheduled for hearings with the immigration court and whose clocks were previously stopped.   
  • The Legal Orientation Program operated by the Department of Justice has been suspended.  This program provides basic legal information to detained individuals in removal proceedings. 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

  • USCIS operates on applicant fees, so all services are open except E-Verify, which means that employers cannot electronically verify an employee's eligibility to work during the government shutdown.
  • The Asylum Office is continuing to operate despite the fact that asylum seekers do not pay a fee to apply for asylum.  However, trainings/hirings may have stopped, which may exacerbate to the continued interview delays around the country.  

Customs and Border Protection

  • Border security is considered an "essential" function, so CBP is operating as usual.

Deportations

  • Immigration enforcement is also considered "essential," so Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Enforcement and Removal Operations will continue to operate.  

Other Services

  • The Department of State will delay certain services, such as visa processing and passport issuance.
  • Travel for refugees approved to resettle in the United States has been temporarily suspended, but exceptions can be made.