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Government Shutdown Impact on Immigration

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Norris McLaughlin’s Immigration Group notes the impact of the partial government shutdown on the U.S. Immigration System as follows:

Form I-9 and E-Verify

E-Verify expired as a result of the government shutdown.  Employers will not have access to E-Verify to initiate new employee verifications, resolve non-confirmations, and verify employment authorization.  Until E-Verify is funded, employers must continue to verify employment eligibility through the Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Authorization, and should not take any negative action against employees who were deemed non-tentative confirmations prior to the government shutdown and remain unresolved as of the date of the government shutdown.

The shutdown does not impact an employer’s responsibility to verify employment eligibility.  Employers are required to verify employment authorization.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

CBP is deemed an “essential agency,” and accordingly, will operate as usual.  CBP agents will conduct all inspections at ports-of-entry, and take other enforcement-related actions at the Canadian and Mexican borders with the United States.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

ICE is deemed an essential agency, so ICE enforcement activities will continue, and the agency will operate as usual.

Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS)

SEVIS is deemed an “essential agency,” so it will operate as usual.  Colleges and universities are reminded to remain compliant in all SEVIS related matters.

Department of State (DOS)

As of today, funding for DOS has not been appropriated.  However, United States Embassies and Consulates are expected to continue processing non-immigrant and immigrant visa applications until visa filing fee reserves have been depleted.

Passport Offices

DOS has advised that passport services will continue unless the passport office is in a federal building closed by the government shutdown.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

USCIS is funded by the fees that applicants pay for the processing of their respective petitions and applications.  Therefore, USCIS will operate as usual.

Department of Labor (DOL)

DOL will continue to operate as usual, as the DOL has already been appropriated the funds to run through the Fiscal Year 2019.  Given this, employers should expect all prevailing wage determinations, H-1B, H-2A, and H-2B labor certifications, as well as PERM processing, to continue without interruption.

EB-5 Regional Center & Conrad 30 Programs

The shutdown has prevented the reauthorization of the EB-5 Regional Center Investor Visa and Conrad 30 programs.  Until reauthorization, neither USCIS nor DOS will accept applications under the EB-5 Regional Center Investor Visa and Conrad 30 programs.

Immigration Courts

Norris McLaughlin is currently monitoring immigration courts across the country.  As of today, there is no guidance on the operation of the detained and non-detained immigration court dockets.

If you have any questions about this post or any other immigration matter, feel free to contact me at rglahoud@norris-law.com.