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A Department of Homeland Security Shutdown?


A Department of Homeland Security Shutdown?

Contributed by Kim Tremblay, Associate Attorney

Congress must agree on a bill to renew funding for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) before Friday night.  House Republicans are trying to get a bill passed that will renew funding for the agency, while revoking the executive action measures on immigration that President Obama announced in November.  They are facing opposition by the President and Democrats.  Without a bill, the agency will have to shut down some services and furlough some of its employees.  However, many DHS employees will still have to go to work regardless of a potential shutdown.

DHS houses various government agencies, the most relevant to immigrants and immigration attorneys being United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  DHS also manages the E-Verify system that allows employers to check whether potential employees have work authorization.

USCIS will not be affected by a DHS shutdown as it derives most of its funding from application fees; ICE and CBP will continue normal operations as well as their personnel are considered essential to preserving the safety of human life or the protection of property.  Their employees must show up on the job even if they do not receive a paycheck.

On the other hand, E-Verify will not accessible during a shutdown.

Hence, DHS may be facing a shutdown, but it seems like the agencies most relevant to President Obama’s November executive action announcement on immigration will not be affected.

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