Government Shutdown Halts Most Immigration Court Hearings

Since 2016, the Trump Administration’s anti-immigration rhetoric has encouraged a dangerous political and social divide in the United States. Unfortunately for Trump, this is the only wall he’s successfully constructed. Despite contradictory campaign promises, Trump has not been able to get Congress or Mexico to fund his expensive border wall. When lawmakers failed to compromise on spending $5 billion to build a wall spanning the U.S.-Mexico border, President Trump decisively ordered a partial government shutdown.

This ongoing shutdown is delaying immigration court hearings across the United States. On December 26, 2018, the Department of Justice released a notice stating that all court appointments will be rescheduled in the future. According to the National Public Radio, “The only exception are courts operating in immigration detention centers, where federal immigration authorities hold immigrants pending deportation. However, court staff may not be paid while continuing to hear those cases.”

Immigration judges and attorneys are concerned that shutting down immigration courts will further congest an already complicated judicial process. Ashley Tabaddor, president of the National Association of Immigration Judges, claims that the government shutdown is pushing back thousands of immigration cases. Tabaddor, who ardently believes that immigration court should be independent of the executive branch, currently has 2,000 stalled cases.

It’s difficult to predict how the government shutdown will ultimately impact these delayed cases. Interestingly, getting a case rescheduled sometimes benefits a hopeful immigrant. Laura Benshoff from National Public Radio explains, “For example, pushing back a hearing could mean an immigrant who qualifies for status now may not in the future if immigration policies are restricted. Or, if an immigrant doesn’t have a strong claim for status, a delay means more time in the U.S. and maybe even qualifying for another form of immigration status in the interim.” Nevertheless, many immigrants are struggling with anxiety and confusion as their cases hover in a legal limbo. The shutdown could end at any time, and when it does, they need to be ready.

Concerned About Your Immigration Status? Schedule a Consultation Today

If you’re looking for a reliable and experienced immigration attorney in Houston, contact the Simon Law Group, PLLC today. Our legal team is comprised of dedicated legal professionals who exclusively practice immigration law. We have a comprehensive understanding of the immigration process and stay up-to-date on fluctuating laws and policies. During your consultation, we can discuss your immigration goals and evaluate your legal options. You can rely on our compassionate and knowledgeable legal team to represent your interests through each step of your legal journey.

We can develop a legal solution that fits your needs. Call the Simon Law Group, PLLC at (713) 839-0639 to schedule a confidential consultation.