The Longest Government Shutdown In History
The partial government shutdown had serious effects on non-citizens and intending immigrants. Having started on December 22nd, 2018, and ending January 23rd, 2019. It lasted one month, making it the longest government shutdown in history. According to President Trump, the government shutdown relates entirely to the key immigration topic of border protection, with the President seeking funding for his proposed United States - Mexico border wall construction. The wall’s construction is estimated by some sources to exceed $5.7 billion in required funding for its completion. President Trump and Democrat leaders, such as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and former-Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, have debated what should and should not go into the new budget agreement, with both sides making their opinions very public.
With Trump's proposals failing to pass due to Democratic opposition, there is much confusion among non-citizens about what parts of the federal government are still operating and the impact it has on their lives. What does the partial government shutdown mean to non-citizens and intending immigrants?
Here is what we know so far from the past four weeks of the government shutdown:
Non-detained immigration court (deportation court) hearings where postponed. Those with loved ones currently in detained immigration court proceedings can rest assured that these hearings will go forward;
ICE and CBP continue to operate on limited resources;
USCIS, the immigration agency, is a fee-based agency, and shall continue to operate normally;
Federal courts, which hear cases related to lawsuits brought by non-citizens against the Department of Homeland Security, are likely to close soon, as they have been working on case filing fees which are anticipated to be entirely spent by next week.
The shutdown can be detrimental to those within the immigration process. At Ibrahim Law Office, we have seen deportation trials postponed due to the shutdown, a lack of reasonable communication between the office and the Department of Homeland Security due to their lack of necessary resources, and an inability to submit important filings to the immigration court due to its closure. We have seen confusion amongst our clients about what the shutdown means for their cases. Nonetheless, now that the government shutdown has ended, the federal workers can now continue their work.