HOW DOES THE GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN AFFECT IMMIGRATION AGENCIES?

Submitted by micol on Mon, 01/22/2018 - 08:16

The current lapse in annual appropriated funding for the U.S. government does not affect USCIS’ fee-funded activities.USCIS' offices will remain open, and all applicants should attend interviews and appointments as scheduled.

However, several USCIS programs will either expire or suspend operations, or be otherwise affected, until they receive appropriated funds or are reauthorized by Congress. These include:

  • EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program. Regional centers are a public or private economic unit in the United States that promote economic growth. USCIS designates regional centers for participation in the Immigrant Investor Program.
  • E-Verify. This free internet-based system allows businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.
  • Conrad 30 J-1 doctors. This program allows J-1 doctors to apply for a waiver of the two-year residence requirement after completing the J-1 exchange visitor program. The expiration only affects the date by which the J-1 doctor must have entered the United States; it is not a shutdown of the Conrad 30 program entirely.
  • Non-minister religious workers. This special immigrant category allows non-ministers in religious vocations and occupations to immigrate or adjust status in the United States to perform religious work in a full-time, compensated position.
  • Department of Labor: The OFLC will stop processing all applications, and its personnel will not be available to respond to e-mail or other inquiries. OFLC's web-based systems, iCERT and PERM, will be inaccessible, and BALCA dockets will be placed on hold.

Whilst the following agencies will continue operations:

  • Immigration Courts: All non-detained cases will be continued and rescheduled.  IJs Sturla, Gagnon and Sanchez will be hearing detained cases as scheduled.  The clerk's window will be open on a limited basis to accept filings for detained dockets only.  I-589s on non-detained cases will be accepted only if the one-year deadline is in jeopardy.
  • Department of State has announced that all scheduled passport and visa services in the United States and overseas at the US Embassies and Consulates will continue as the situation permits.
  • Immigration Custom Enforcement (ICE) enforcement and removal operations will continue, with primary focus on the detained docket.

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