With Congress’s unwillingness to pass a budget, many essential government employees have been furloughed, but the Department of Homeland Security-including Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)- is not one of them. Agents will still be around to enforce immigration law because the operations are “necessary for safety of life and protection of property.”
The border will remain open no matter the financial situation. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will continue to screen passengers and their luggage as they come and go at the border. They will not be paid until Congress agrees to pass their bill and the staff will be limited.
Furthermore, green card and other applications will continue to be processed. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will remain open since they are funded through user fees. The E-verify program has been suspended. Over 404,000 employers use this internet-based system which allows businesses to verify that the person they are hiring is in the country legally.
Passport processing will be delayed as they will only process visas for “life or death” situations.
Of the several different effects that occur due to the shutdown, probably the worst one is that immigrants will continue to be deported. ICE agents are told that they are still able to detain, arrest, and deport immigrants. This leaves about 1,120 undocumented immigrants being deported daily. These government agencies have significant power and have a heavy volume of applications and services coming in every day. The government shutdown will have negative effects all around, but immigration wise, it may be detrimental to individuals trying to remain in the U.S. Lawmakers are hoping Congress can avoid a government shutdown and pass a bill that would prevent this from happening, but agencies and employees are preparing for the worst.
If you have questions regarding the new immigration reform, applying for a visa or the changing immigration laws, contact us at 314-961-8200 or visit our contact page.