On December 22, 2018, President Trump initiated a partial government shutdown after Congress refused to fund his costly U.S.-Mexico border wall. This shutdown has affected immigration courts across the country, inspiring mass confusion and fear as thousands of cases are being pushed back by months and even years.
The government shutdown temporarily ended after 35 days, making it the longest recorded shutdown in American history. Unfortunately, this political armistice is only temporary; if President Trump isn't satisfied by the negotiation process, he may order another government shutdown in a few weeks.
American Courts Turn Away Hundreds
On January 31, 2019, asylum-seekers from Honduras and Guatemala were turned away from Miami's downtown court building despite carrying government-issued notices to appear in court. Unfortunately, similar situations are happening across the country. Migrants in Phoenix and San Francisco flocked to their local immigration courts only to be told that the hearings hadn't actually been scheduled. U.S. News reported that "backlogged immigration courts faced more hurdles...when hundreds of immigrants arrived with government-issued notices to appear in court for hearings that were never scheduled."
U.S. immigration officials claim that confusion is due to poor weather and the government shutdown. Likewise, the Department of Justice claims that shutdown prevented immigration courts from issuing new notices with updated hearing dates. However, the American Immigration Lawyers Association asserts that the Department of Homeland Security has been issuing notices with "fake times and dates" just to meet the legal requirements recently stipulated by the Supreme Court.
While different agencies are pretending this outcome is somehow a surprise,Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) says, "the overflow of hearings scheduled Thursday had been expected due to the shutdown."
Review Your Options with an Experienced Immigration Attorney
With new laws and regulations being passed left, right and overnight, it's important to have a thorough understanding of your legal rights. If you have questions or concerns about the current state of you immigration case, contact the Clearwater immigration lawyers at Dean Kantaras, P.A. Our experienced legal team has the skills and resources to help individuals and businesses achieve their immigration goals.
Contact K.Dean Kantaras, P.A. at (727) 939-6113 to schedule a consultation