The current government shutdown is both confusing and concerning, especially
for those working for the federal government or receiving federal benefits.
When it comes to
immigration matters, the shutdown only affects certain processes.
The following are the frequently asked questions about immigration cases
and the government shutdown:
Question: Can I still apply for immigration benefits?
Answer: Yes. USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) offices are still
open during this time and accepting immigration petitions. The agency
stated that the shutdown has no effect on fee-for-service activities,
meaning appointments and interviews will continue according to the schedule.
Q: I already filed a petition. What happens next?
A: Filed petitions will still be reviewed as scheduled and move forward regardless
of the shutdown.
Q: I scheduled a fingerprint appointment this week. Should I go?
A: Yes. Biometric processing centers are also open during the shutdown, just
like other USCIS offices. If you fail to attend your fingerprint appointment,
your case may experience a delay.
Q: I scheduled an interview. Will it go forward?
A: Yes. Your interview should still occur on the scheduled date. The USCIS
says all offices throughout the world are still open to conduct interviews.
Q: Will the E-Verify program still be operational?
A: No. During the shutdown, it is not possible to create an E-Verify case,
enroll in E-Verify, take action or view a case, edit any accounts, terminate
accounts, reset passwords, run reports, or resolve TNCs (tentative nonconfirmations).
While an E-Verify case is pending, USCIS warns employers to not take adverse
action against affected employees.
Q: Which immigration programs are not in operation during the shutdown?
A: Besides the E-Verify program, other programs that are not in operation
during the shutdown because of a lack of continuing funding are Conrad
30 J-1 program for physicians, EB-5 immigrant investor regional center
program, and non-minister religious worker visas.
Q: Is ICE still active?
A: Yes. ICE will continue to operate and detain those who violate federal
immigration laws. In addition, the ICE Community and Detainee Helpline
is still open.
Q: Are immigration courts open?
A: The immigration courts throughout the United States are only open for
urgent deportation cases. So, if you have scheduled a hearing for an immigration
case other than urgent deportation matters, it will be postponed. However,
this doesn’t mean you should remain alert and prepare for your hearing.
For more information about immigration matters during the current government
contact our Santa Barbara immigration attorney at
Appel & Morse today.