The government shut down has temporarily been suspended – if the government shut down goes back into a fact we expect the following to occur…
The government has been shut down since December 22, 2018 due to Congress not being able to agree on a budget. The Senate passed a budget which did not include funding for a border wall and President Trump declared that he would not sign any budget bill which failed to fund a border wall. Therefore, Congress and the President are at a stalemate, unable to agree on a budget.
This has not been the only time that the Federal Government has shut down under the Donald Trump presidency. It was previously closed from January 20-22 and on February 9th. The longest time that the Federal Government was shut down was during a clash between President Clinton and the Republican Party for a total of 21 days from December 1995 to January 1996.
How does government shutdown affect USCIS?
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and USCIS will remain open
The following immigration programs will be shut down:
Most immigration courts are closed except in urgent deportation cases. If a case is scheduled for a deportation hearing it will be postponed
Where does USCIS gets its funding?
USCIS is funded primarily by immigration and naturalization benefit fees charged to applicants and petitioners.
Fees collected from individuals or organizations filing immigration benefit requests are deposited into the Immigration Examinations Fee Account (IEFA).
USCIS uses fee funding to process applications, petitions, and requests related to immigration.
These include but are not limited to:
- Family-based petitions for close relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents;
- Employment-based petitions for current and prospective employees to work in the United States, either on a temporary or permanent basis;
- Naturalization applications filed by those who wish to become U.S. citizens.
The Immigration Examinations Fee Account also covers the USCIS refugee and asylee programs, because the Federal Government doesn’t collect fees for aliens who seek refuge or asylum, despite evidence of egregious abuse in both programs.
What are the funds used for?
Besides the programs already mentioned a very small percentage goes to cover other very important programs such as:
- International affairs program: conducts investigations background checks and FBI fingerprint checks;
- information and records management;
- legal proceedings: attorneys to represent the ins in asylum naturalization and other cases;
- inspection personnel at the ports-of-entry;
- investigations a program: focused on the detection and deterrence of fraud and to protect the integrity of benefits and documents;
- intelligence programs: provides strategic intelligence supports INS offices and other Federal agencies in addressing national security issues;
- Training for all the above-mentioned programs.
How will the wall be funded?
President Trump is demanding that Congress give him $5 billion on fund border wall.
Consideration is given to using the $1 billion-plus surplus sitting in the USCIS Immigration Examinations Fee Account (IEFA) account.
President Trump is not willing to end the Federal Government government shutdown until a favorable agreement can be reached that will give him the finances that he is asking for to cover funding for a border wall. The Federal Government shut down will not slow down the processing of your petition because USCIS is fee funded. Consideration is being given to using a percentage of those fees for border security.