From December 24 to January 11, the appointments for nearly 43,000 immigration court hearings came and went without action. The government shutdown has had an enormous impact on the immigration court system in a short period. According to a report from experts tracking immigration data, up to 20,000 hearings will be canceled every week that the government remains in shutdown.
If the shutdown continues til the end of the month, up to 100,000 hearings will be postponed—hearings that people have been waiting years for. Some immigrants may have to wait until 2022 for a their hearing's new timeslot to arrive. Though the White House has requested 75 new immigration judges to help clear the backlog (which existed prior to the shutdown), it's not clear if Congress will approve the request.
How does this affect immigrants? It' depends, says NPR's Laura Benshoff.
"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," Benshoff says. "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."
In other words, the specifics of your case will determine whether or not a delayed hearing could work in your favor.
New Jersey is among the states with the most canceled immigration hearings. If you're unsure how the shutdown will affect your case (or if it will affect it at all), speak with a New Jersey immigration lawyer as soon as possible. Attorney Lloyd Bennett has provided thousands of immigrants with life-changing results. If you have questions, our Union City firm has answers.
Call (800) 909-8129 or contact our firm online to schedule a free consultation. Se Habla Español.