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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy


Rating: 7 votes, 5.00 average.

By this weekend, the federal government's funding is set to run out and unless there is a breakthrough in negotiations between members of the two parties, we could see a shutdown for the first time in more than 15 years. How will this affect immigration services? While we don't have a lot of experience with government shutdowns in this country, we expect that only "essential" services will continue. That means law enforcement, fire fighting, the military, utilities and prisons. Air travel is considered essential so air traffic controllers and TSAs will continue to work. And so will agencies that are funded by application and user fees.

So which immigration services are to be hit? According to AOL News, the State Department will be one of the highest profile agencies to be affected:

The U.S. tourism and airline industries reportedly lost millions of dollars after the 1995-96 shutdowns halted visa and passport processing. Approximately 200,000 U.S. passport applications went unprocessed during the shutdowns and 20,000 to 30,000 foreign visa applications were unprocessed.

Emergency passport and visa processing should be available during the shutdown.

USCIS Service Centers and local district offices should operate as normal because they are funded primarily through application fees.

It's not clear yet what's going to happen at the Department of Labor. But it is very possible the iCert portal used for labor certifications and H-1B labor condition applications could be closed during the shutdown and H-1B processing could be delayed.

ICE facilities will continue to detain people and the court systems - including presumably immigration courts - will operate as normal. But according to AOL, hiring at these agencies may be frozen:

The last shutdown had a number of consequences for law enforcement and public safety operations, including reported cancellation of hiring 400 border patrol agents and cancellation of federal law enforcement recruiting programs.

Processing of immigrants and non-immigrants at ports-of-entry should continue, but there could be staffing cutbacks that could cause delays.

Of course, we're bound to be surprised by what develops and I'll try to report to readers news as it becomes available. I'd also welcome reports on what people are learning on their own.

Two good links for background information are here and here.


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  1. George Chell's Avatar
    I dont believe shutdown will last for more than a week at most. The Easter vacation is coming for the US House and Senate and they will finish the work before that.
  2. F's Avatar
    What will happen to issuance of Immigrant visas consular posts across the world when and if government shutdown happens?

  3. Greg Siskind's Avatar
    F - They will likely be delayed until the shutdown is over.
  4. Frank W.'s Avatar
    It seems that the collapse of the US economy is indeed a reality (skyrocketing prices of gold, silver, oil and other commodities) and the demise of the Dollar is just a matter of months - put attention when Japan starts selling its US Treasury Bonds in order to rebuild the country.

    Moreover, Congress is unwilling to acknowledge these serious facts and keeps bogged on how to finance a dysfunctional government - this institution has become IRRELEVANT.

    Don't expect any comprehensive immigration reform in a foreseeable future, instead be ready for these unavoidable (and irreversible) changes. In fact, these events that will accelerate Obama's decision to issue an Executive Order that grants some sort of legal protection to millions of undocumented aliens living in the United States based on certain prerequisites and requirements.

  5. Sid's Avatar
    Frank, you can keep dreaming as much as you want and for as long as you want but there'll be no executive order from Obama or any other US president to grant legal status to illegal immigrants.
  6. SG's Avatar
    Also making the illegals legal by using an executive order or by using a magic orb won't make US competitive. Skilled immigrants (read legal) have already started to leave this country, and this will only accelerate it. Nice place where you get rewarded for being illegal and breaking the law, and where one has to wait for 20 yrs to get a green card following the legal path.
  7. gg's Avatar
    Sentenced to death, Arizona's evil 'immigration vigilante' who shot a nine-year-old girl twice in the face

    Read more:

    US death row injection coming from Mumbai firm
  8. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    Sid, Frank is certfiable. Don't pay attention to him.

    SG, your benevolent nature is just flowing onto the keyboard...
  9. George Chell's Avatar
    Easter and Passover are approaching and I am very certain that the Congress folks will like to get home for their "much needed" two week this wont last for more than a week at most!
  10. gg's Avatar
    Activists are accusing U.S. immigration enforcement officers of stalking local Hispanic immigrants on the city's southwest side as they go to church and take their children to s

    From The Detroit News:
  11. David Foster's Avatar
    Even if USCIS is fee run and will not be shutdown, what about the building they are working in? The buildings are owned by GSA, since GSA is non-essential, at least in non-essential buildings like USCIS ones, they will not be opening or have guards in place at the front door. I dont see how any USCIS building can open without GSA
  12. My 2 cents's Avatar
    Anyway the job done by USCIS as far as processing the immigrant petition is subpar without the shut down. It won't make any difference.
  13. George Chell's Avatar
    Exactly what I have been saying all along.....

    "Phoenix-based ON Semiconductor Corp. /quotes/comstock/15*!onnn/quotes/nls/onnn (ONNN 9.87, +0.06, +0.61%) , another chipmaker with more than 20,000 employees, has increased overseas hiring for design work in part because it's difficult to take on noncitizens within the U.S."

    "Our preference would be to keep them here, but you sometimes have to start asking yourself, 'Am I going to get a visa?'" said Colleen McKeown, a senior vice president at ON Semiconductor. "What's going to happen in this country is more and more companies, and new creations, and new ideas, are going to be created in a foreign country. And with it go the jobs.""

    "We want those people working [in the U.S.], and we know that when they're working they produce jobs for others," said Bruce Morrison, a former Democratic congressman who helped create the H-1B visa program.

    "There's been a lot of moving of jobs abroad because of an unresponsive immigration system," he said in an interview after testifying before the House Judiciary subcommittee on Immigration last week on behalf of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.
  14. Frank W.'s Avatar
    By Pete Papaherakles

    Internationalist billionaire George Soros is holding his international conference April 8 to April 11 at Bretton Woods, N.H., the noted birthplace of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, where he plans to "rearrange the entire financial order," as he noted in a November 2009 article in The Japan Times Online.

    This "Bretton Woods II" comes along just as the Trilateral Commission will be meeting at the same time in Washington, D.C. With an apparent goal of creating nothing less than a new global economy, Soros is spending $50 million in New Hampshire to bring together up to 200 academic, business and government policy leaders under his Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET).
    Read the whole article here:

    The emergence of a new economic order is just around the corner. The implications of these unavoidable changes seen from the immigration perspective are clear: governments will have to harmonize their regulations pertaining to people's movement. Therefore Mexican and Canadian nationals living in the United States without the proper documentation will be entitled to work in the US just by showing their national documents (except those who have criminal records).

    In anticipation to these dramatic changes, President Obama will issue an Executive Order that grants some sort of legal protection to millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States based on certain prerequisites and requirements.
  15. USC's Avatar
    May bulletin is out. Some takeaways on movement for the rest of the year:

    EB3 India:

    "India: none to two weeks"

    EB2 China:

    "China: none to three weeks expected through July. No August or September estimate is possible at this time."

    I have selected Chindia to illustrate the need for CIR. W/O reform EB3 India and EB2 China applicants are toast!
  16. JoeF's Avatar
    FY2012 H1 quota news:
    "USCIS has received approximately 5,900 H-1B petitions counting toward the 65,000 cap, and approximately 4,500 petitions toward the 20,000 cap exemption for individuals with advanced degrees."
  17. Frank W.'s Avatar
    Maryland House Passes Controversial Immigrant Tuition Bill

    House Bill 470 would allow children of undocumented immigrants tuition breaks.
    By Joshua Garner
    April 8, 2011

    The Maryland House of Delegates has cleared a controversial bill that would grant in-state tuition status to undocumented immigrants.

    The Maryland DREAM Act passed the House by a vote of 74-66 Friday. The bill now goes to the Senate, which passed its version last month.

    The bill would require applicants to public colleges and universities in Maryland to be students at public high schools in the state for three consecutive years before applying for in-state rates. Undocumented immigrants currently pay an out-of-state tuition fee, which in 2011 averages $10,000 more per year than in-state tuition.

    Read the whole article here:

    The trend is clear: the states are effectively dealing with immigration matters since Congress is incapable of passing a comprehensive immigration reform. These types of state-sponsored initiatives will simply accelerate President Obama's decision to issue an Executive Order that grants some sort of legal protection to millions of undocumented aliens living in the United States based on certain prerequisites and requirements.
  18. George Chell's Avatar

    Cheaper to hire abroad and send jobs abroad meaning less tax revenues and more budget cuts...this is also happening in a much severe scale in the UK!

    Frank W:

    The target here is the US Supreme Court...the court will forced to do one of two things. Either agree with AZ and say that states have rights to pass immigration legislation in which case they have to go along with the Utah and Maryland bills...or they have to rule that it is strictly a federal role which means all laws including AZ's controversial laws have to be dismantled. They are trying to put the Supreme Court in between a rock and a hard place!
  19. Legal and no longer waiting's Avatar
    George, Maryland bill does not regulate immigration, but in-state tuition, which every state can regulate. It has little to do with immigration itself.
  20. I 539 Forms's Avatar
    Is this another form of aggravation to the immigrants?
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