With the ongoing government shutdown, we’ve received many calls from concerned immigration clients wondering what is open, what is closed, and how the shutdown affects their immigration case.
USCIS (US Citizenship & Immigration Services) is not affected by the shutdown. USCIS services are paid by your filing fees so they remain open. Applications will continue to be received and processed even though the government is shut down. Biometrics (fingerprint) appointments will continue as scheduled, as will interviews. If you do not show up for these appointments, there may be severe negative consequences for your case.
CBP (Customs & Border Protection) and ICE (Immigration & Customs Enforcement) officers and other enforcement personnel at DHS (Department of Homeland Security) remain on duty though many of their employees are not being paid. This means that ICE detention and enforcement operations will continue even during the shutdown.
EOIR (Executive Office for Immigration Review, Immigration Court) is affected. Only detained cases are being heard while the government is shut down. If you have a non-detained immigration court hearing while the government is shut down, it will be rescheduled. It is important to note that hearings will go forward as scheduled as soon as the government shutdown ends. Keep a close eye on the news and remain in contact with your immigration attorney, as we will be expected to present your case as scheduled as soon as the government reopens. We understand that this may cause hardship for some people, but as attorneys we need to comply with the directions we are getting from the court. If you have an upcoming immigration hearing and are represented by WGL, we will let you know as soon as we have any news about whether your hearing will be canceled or if we will proceed as scheduled.