By midnight, January 20th, 2018, the U.S. Congress failed to pass a budget which effectively shut down the federal government. While certain “essential” government positions remain unaffected, such as the U.S. military, the impact on the U.S. immigration system for employers and employees is significant. What follows is a brief breakdown of the impact on agencies that administer the employment-based immigration programs:
– DOL: The U.S. Department of Labor is not functioning. This means that neither the LCA nor the PERM system is operating during the shutdown, and officers will not respond to emails or other inquiries. Pending cases will not be reviewed and new cases cannot be filed. In 2013, the DOL gave detailed instructions and indicated in December 2017 that the instructions would be largely the same should the government face another shutdown.
– USCIS: USCIS is a fee-funded agency so will continue to process cases. E-Verify, however, is closed.
– CBP: Inspection and law enforcement personnel are considered “essential.” This means that U.S. ports of entry will be open but we may see a slowdown of processing applications filed at the border.
– DOS: Visa and passport filings are fee-funded and DOS confirmed January 20th that “scheduled passport and visa services in the United States and at our posts overseas will continue during the lapse in appropriations as the situation permits.”
– ICE: ICE enforcement and removal operations will continue. The ICE Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) offices are unaffected since SEVP is funded by fees.
– EOIR: EOIR’s detained docket is typically considered an essential function and should continue to operate.
SPS Immigration will continue to update this page as the various agencies release information. Please contact SPS Immigration should you have questions on how this shutdown impacts your immigration case.