Throughout the nation individuals are dealing with the shutdown of the federal government. While some of the repercussions are a nuisance, such as the closure of national parks, others can have a more serious impact on the lives of individuals living in the United States. It is likely that some individuals residing in South Florida are wondering how the government shutdown will impact their immigration matter. The answer depends on the nature of the immigration matter.
Those who have urgent matters that need to be addressed in immigration court will probably find that their case will not be impacted. This is because most of the courts will be open to handle such cases. It is possible however that matters such as non-emergency deportation and political asylum will be delayed. Just how long depends on how long the government shutdown lasts.
For those seeking documentation such as a visa or passport or who have immigration paperwork that needs to be processed they will feel little, if any impact. The reason behind this is that the agencies that handle these immigration matters, the State Department and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, respectively, receive very little funding from the federal government. In fact, according to the spokesperson for the USCIS, 95 percent of that agency’s budget is derived from the fees charged in connection with immigration matters.
Immigration enforcement and border patrol are both deemed as essential to the “safety of life and protection of property.” Accordingly, this means that investigations and removals will continue. In addition, there should not be an impact on the way in which the U.S. borders are guarded.
Employers may be the most impacted by the shutdown. This is due to the fact that the system used by employers to determine whether someone they hire is authorized to work in the country, E-Verify, will not be up and running until the shutdown has ended.
Individuals whose immigration matters are impacted by the government shutdown should not forget that the matter is pending. The issue will not go away and any delays that arise could provide an opportunity for that individual to gather more information or build a better case.
Source: ABC News, “Here’s How the Shutdown Affects Immigration Services,” Ted Hesson, Oct. 1, 2013