What Happens During a Government Shutdown (Updated 10/1/13)

What happens during a government shutdown? The simple answer is it varies by agency! The federal government shutdown is officially underway as of 12:01 am, October 1, 2013. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has put together an updated list of what to expect from the federal government agencies involved in the immigration system! Below is an excerpt from AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11040730 (posted Oct. 1, 2013).

~——-~

CIS Ombudsman: The CIS Ombudsman’s Office will be closed and will not be accepting any inquiries through their online case intake system.

DOL: The Administration is working very hard to avoid a government shutdown and believes there is sufficient time to avoid such an occurrence; however, prudent management requires the Department to plan for the possibility that it may need to suspend operations should Congress be unable to pass a funding bill by midnight on Monday, September 30, 2013.

OFLC functions are not “excepted” from a shutdown and its employees would be placed in furlough status should a lapse in appropriated funds occur. Consequently, in the event of a government shutdown, OFLC will neither accept nor process any applications or related materials (such as audit responses), it receives, including Labor Condition Applications, Applications for Prevailing Wage Determination, Applications for Temporary Employment Certification, or Applications for Permanent Employment Certification. OFLC’s web site, including the iCERT Visa Portal System and the PERM system, would become static and unable to process any requests or allow authorized users to access their online accounts.

DOL’s Office of Administrative Law Judges will be unable to perform any case-related activities, including conducting hearings. Hearings that have been previously scheduled will therefore be cancelled prior to the date of the hearing, and they will not be rescheduled for hearing until an appropriations bill or continuing resolution takes effect.

DHS: Due to the lapse in federal, DHS’s website will not be actively managed.

DOS: The Department will continue as many normal operations as possible; operating status and available funding will need to be monitored continuously and closely, and planning for a lapse in appropriations must be continued. Review their “Guidance on Operations” for more information.

EOIR: EOIR has indicated that its response to a potential shutdown is the same as it was in 2011. EOIR has been advised to “put its shutdown plans in place.” As with other agencies, personnel who are not considered “essential” will be furloughed. EOIR has indicated that the detained docket would likely be considered an essential function and would therefore be able to continue in operation.

Update from EOIR on October 1, 2013: Court functions that support the detained caseload will continue, but other functions are suspended. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is processing emergency stay requests as well as cases where the alien is detained, including case appeals, motions, federal court remands, and bonds. Please review their notice for more information.

ICE: From ICE Community Outreach – ICE detention and enforcement operations shall continue. ICE chief counsel trail attorneys will still work on the detained docket only during a shutdown. Please coordinate with your local Chief Counsel Office on more specifics. The ICE Community and Detainee Helpline will remain operational.

USCIS: All USCIS offices worldwide are open and individuals should report to interviews and appointments as scheduled. E-Verify is currently unavailable due to a government shutdown. Please see their notice for policies implemented due to E-Verify’s unavailability.

DHS OIG: The majority of DHS OIG staff has been furloughed due to the lapse in appropriations.

Summary of Government Services:

Government Services During the Shutdown
Washington Post Round Up of Various Agency Responses on Impact of a Government Shutdown
Agency Memos:

• DOL Notice on Impact of Temporary Suspension of Federal Government Services on Employment and Training Administration including Foreign Labor Certification (9/30/13) (AILA Doc. No. 13092551)
• DHS Lapse Contingency Plan Summary (9/27/13) (AILA Doc. No. 13092551)
• DOL Update to its 4/7/11 Plan (9/25/13) (AILA Doc. No. 13092551)
• OMB Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies (9/17/13) (AILA Doc. No. 13092551).
• DOS Guidance on Operations During a Lapse in Appropriations (9/27/13) (AILA Doc. No. 13092551)

~——-~

Source of Information:
– AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 11040730 (posted 9/ 25/13)