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What’s Open, What’s Closed: Details on Government Shutdown’s Impact on Immigration Services

Based upon the most recent updates, it appears that the U.S. government will shutdown at 12:01 am on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 (which is the start of Fiscal Year 2014 for the government). Assuming that no compromise is reached and the government shuts down:


On Tuesday, Oct. 1, USCIS will remain OPEN. All interviews will be conducted and biometrics/fingerprints will be taken. USCIS, at least in the short term, will not suffer any major impacts as it is funded mostly by the fees that it collects.

Immigration Courts

All non-detained immigration court cases, both “masters” and “individuals” will be cancelled.  Immigration courts handling non-detained cases will be closed and the cases will be rescheduled at a later date.  This is particularly upsetting news for those seeking Cancellation of Removal and needed to wait until the first day of the new fiscal year to have a visa made available.

Detained cases will continue unaffected.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”)

The “Enforcement and Removal” office (the branch of ICE responsible for detention and deportation) will continue to operate.  Unfortunately, people will still get detained and deported tomorrow.  The Office of the Principal Legal Adviser  (the lawyers that prosecute removal cases) will operate on a limited basis.  Only those Trial Attorneys responsible for detained cases will be working.  All other lawyers will be off.

Customs and Border Patrol (“CBP”)

Customs and Border Patrol will be operating with major reductions in staffing.  Some border crossing points will be closed.  Others will face significant delays.  Those responsible for watching for illegal entrants at non-border crossings will be unaffected.


*Disclaimer: This information is what has been stated by the various agencies as of 9/30 at 7:00 pm.  It is subject to change as negotiations continue in Congress and decisions are made by the powers that be in the various agencies.