We are all well aware that the impasse between the President and Congress related to differences of opinion on immigration and building the wall. It has now led to the partial shutdown of the federal government and will essentially furlough all non-essential personnel. However, fee-funded activities are not affected, which includes the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. This means that interviews and appointments will continue on schedule. Moreover, most petitions and applications will also be accepted and processed. There are some services that will be shut down or work at a much reduced capacity. According to the USCIS’s web site, the following services will be suspended:
- EB-5 Immigrant Investor Regional Center Program: This public-private economic unit promotes economic growth.
- Conrad 30 Waiver Program for J-1 medical doctors: This program enables J-1 doctors to apply for a waiver of the two-year residency requirement once the J-1 exchange visitor program is completed.
- Non-minister religious workers: Religious workers who immigrate and adjust to permanent resident status.
Lack of E-Verify means employers need not take action
This free internet site enables U.S. employers to verify the eligibility of immigrant employees. According to the web site, some E-verify services are open, but many are not. Employers who do not have answers from E-Verify, need not (and cannot) take action against an employee because of the site’s unavailability.
Immigrants and asylum seekers can get answers
The one consistent part of immigration law is that the rules and protocols will change. It is best for those seeking visas, asylum or citizenship to work with legal professionals who deal with these issues all the time. They will have the most knowledgeable and up-to-date information while the government is shut down as well as when the budget funding is approved and the government reopens.