Congress failed to pass a budget. National parks, monuments, and museums are closed nationwide. The big question Blandon Law is being asked is “Does this affect my immigration case?" The answer is YES. ABSOLUTELY YES.
Immigration law relies heavily on three affected federal agencies: the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Labor. The following is a breakdown of how immigration cases are being processed in light of the shutdown.
Department of Homeland Security:
USCIS: All offices remain open. Therefore, interviews for residency, removal of conditions, naturalization, and InfoPass appointments will continue. Those with pending applications should not expect any delays at this time.
ICE: Enforcement and removal operations remain active. However, the Offices of the Chief Counsel are largely shutdown. Some managing attorneys continue to be available largely for emergencies only.
Department of Justice:
Non-detained Cases: Courts are not operating. Hearings will be rescheduled for individuals with hearing dates while the government is shutdown.
Detained Cases: Hearings for individuals who are currently detained by Immigration are still operating.
Department of Labor:
PERM (Program Electronic Review Management): This program (used to obtain labor certification for employment based visas) is unable to process requests or allow access to individual accounts.
While Congressional negotiations are largely out of our hands, there is something you can do. Call your congressman! Although foreigners are not eligible to vote, it is important that members of Congress are aware of the tangible and frustrating effect this is having on individuals. In the meantime, Blandon Law is hoping to a speedy resolution.
Although the author is a Board-certified immigration expert, this guide is intended as general information and not specific legal advice. This communication does not create an attorney-client relationship. Schedule a consultation with an attorney to address individual concerns.