News & Articles

Government Shutdown Affects Immigration Services

The funding bill left U.S. Congress members unable to reach an agreement and as of October 1, 2013 a government shutdown has commenced. Fortunately not all government services have been discontinued.  Services regarding national security and the protection of life and property are still running. Functioning operations are medical care, air traffic control, border protection, law enforcement, and emergency disaster assistance.

However, the government shutdown has affected some immigration services:

Department of Labor (DOL): On account of the government shutdown, the Office of Foreign Labor Certification (OFLC) will neither accept nor process any applications or related materials (such as audit responses), it receives, including Labor Condition Applications, Applications for Prevailing Wage Determination, Applications for Temporary Employment Certification, or Applications for Permanent Employment Certification. OFLC’s web site, including the iCERT Visa Portal System, would be unable to process any requests or allow authorized users to access their online accounts.

Department of State (DOS): The Department will continue as many normal operations as possible; operating status and available funding will need to be monitored continuously and closely, and planning for a lapse in appropriations must be continued.

Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR): As with other agencies, personnel who are not considered “essential” will be placed on unpaid leave of absence. Court functions that support the detained caseload will continue, but other functions are suspended. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is processing emergency stay requests as well as cases where the alien is detained, including case appeals, motions, federal court remands, and bonds.

ICE: ICE detention and enforcement operations shall continue. ICE chief counsel trial attorneys will work on the detained docket only during the shutdown.

USCIS: All USCIS offices worldwide are open and individuals should report to interviews and appointments as scheduled. E-Verify is currently unavailable due to a government shutdown.

We will continue to keep our readers posted as and when further updates become available.