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Government shutdown will likely affect immigration claims

The government shutdown that has erupted over demands for money in the federal budget for a border wall is having an ongoing effect on many aspects of life here in the United States. At present, at least 800,000 federal employees are affected — including those agents who guard the country’s borders. Now, many of those border agents are working without pay.

But that is just one group experiencing the adverse effects of the shutdown that is now stretching well into its second week. The President recently doubled down on his intention to keep most governmental functions closed until he receives an allocation of $5 billion to build a wall along the country’s southern border with Mexico. The new Democrat-held House, however, continues to refuse, confirming the impasse.

A logjam in the immigration courts

Ironically, the shutdown is contributing to undocumented immigrants continuing to remain in the country without the proper papers, as immigration judges are also now on furlough. Deportation hearings now must be rescheduled, further overcrowding dockets with backlogs of reportedly 800,000 cases.

One immigration attorney in another state had a client’s hearing on a procedural matter in a deportation hearing canceled. He stated that with the present backlog, he did not expect his client’s hearing to get reset until some point in 2020.

“That’s one case for one judge in one city. Multiply that by . . . thousands of cases across the country. The shutdown has resulted in a complete standstill for most of the immigration docket,” he was quoted as saying.

Judges working without pay

Under the auspices of the Justice Department, the Executive Office for Immigration Review issued a notice stating that those immigrants who are currently in detention will still have court dates. But the judges hearing their cases will be working without pay, according to the president of the National Association of Immigration Judges.

If you have a pending immigration case, it’s important to stay abreast of news about the shutdown that could affect the outcome of your case. Your Miami immigration attorney can provide advice and direction about any changes to your court dates and other pertinent information relevant to the shutdown.


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