As Government Shutdown Persists, Hundreds of Thousands Face Immigration Delays

On December 22nd, 2018, the Trump Administration took the federal government into a partial shutdown. In its desire to get money for the ‘the wall’ — which Mexico has not and will never pay for — the administration brought the government to a halt. As the shutdown continues beyond the holiday season, many people are starting to feel the impact — including in immigration court.

Immigration processing is one of the many ways in which President Trump’s government shutdown causes wholly avoidable disruption. According to reporting from NBC Los Angeles, 800,000 immigrants are currently facing delays as a result of the federal government shutdown. The report estimates that at least 74,000 cases in the Los Angeles area are affected.

More Immigration Delays; Continued Frustration

The immigration process is notoriously slow. There is a growing backlog in immigration courts. Nowhere is that backlog a bigger issue than in California. The federal government has been slow to address the delays. Now, immigration cases that do not require immediate attention are being delayed further as a result of the federal government shutdown. In fact, most immigration hearings have been halted. As an example, NBC Los Angeles reports that a man came in for an immigration appointment in Southern California and was notified that his hearing will be postponed until April 2019 as a result of the shutdown. His case is not an outlier: it is possible that some people may have to wait an entire year for another hearing as a result of the disruption caused by the shutdown.

Can I Speed Up My Immigration Case?

Depending on your specific circumstances, there may be things that you can do to expedite your immigration case. Notably, if you are in an emergency situation, you should request expedited processing. Emergency situations include things such as the need for permission to visit an ill relative in another country or the impending military deployment of a spouse. If you find yourself in a situation where you must expedite your case, it is imperative that you consult with an experienced immigration lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer will be able to review your claim and determine what, if anything, you can do to speed up the immigration process. In some cases, action can be taken to move things along. Unfortunately, this will not always be the case. There are circumstances in which little can be done to address the delay. President Trump’s shutdown of the federal government only makes the situation more challenging.

Speak to an Immigration Lawyer Today

At the Goldstein Immigration Lawyers, we are committed to getting immigrants and their families the answers that they deserve. To get immediate assistance with your immigration case, please call our legal team to set up a confidential consultation. We are based in Los Angeles and we represent clients throughout Southern California, including in Burbank, Cerritos, Santa Monica, Monterey Park, and Beverly Hills.