The year 2018 is coming to a close, and the government shutdown that began on December 22nd remains in effect. It is uncertain when the shutdown might end, as President Trump has indicated that he will not sign a bill to find the government unless it includes funding for a border wall or fence. While this has a direct effect on employees in some government jobs, many are also wondering, what happens to my immigration case during a government shutdown?
Here is some information about the shutdown and how it might affect your immigration case:
Cases pending with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS):
USCIS is a fee-based agency and your filing fees fund its operation. During the shutdown, USCIS will continue to operate as usual. It If you have an appointment at USCIS, you still are required to attend. If you have a pending application, it will continue to be processed.
Cases at Executive Office of Immigration Review (Immigration Court):
The EOIR issued a notice regarding the government shutdown:
- Cases in Immigration Court for Detained Individuals
Immigration Court cases for detained individuals will proceed during the shutdown.
- Cases in Immigration Court for Non-Detained Individuals
Court hearings for individuals who are not detained will be rescheduled when the shutdown ends. Be sure your mailing address on file with the court is updated so that you receive notice about any rescheduled hearings.
Cases at the asylum office will continue processing. However, since there is no fee associated with an asylum application, processing times may slow down and cases may get delayed if the shutdown continues.
Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) Report-ins for Orders of Supervision
ICE will continue to operate during the shutdown, so people with report-in dates for Orders of Supervision should appear for report in dates as usual and attend any other appointments scheduled
Department of State (DOS)
The Department of State will continue processing visa applications at its embassies and consulates, but it is unclear whether a prolonged shutdown might affect this.
The National Visa Center will continue to process applications, however, processing times may slow during the shutdown.
Bureau of Consular Affairs or U.S. Passport applications and Consular Reports of Birth Abroad
The Bureau of Consular Affairs is a fee--based agency. Because it is funded by fees paid with applications, the Passport Office should continue to operate normally during the shutdown. However, note that if a passport office is located in a federal building, and the federal building itself may shut down, there may be limited access or restricted access to the passport office. If you need to go to a passport office, call ahead to ensure that it will be open during regular business hours.
Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
Customs and Border Protection or CPB will continue working on the borders and all ports of entry.
If you have a case that is pending with USCIS, Immigration Court, or you have to deal with ICE or CBP and need help, we highly recommend that you consult with an experienced immigration lawyer.