Like most people, I thought that the threat of a government shutdown was a bluff not worthy of serious consideration. However, given that we have entered the third day of this surreal situation, it is worth reviewing how immigration-related agencies are affected. The distinction seems to be based on whether the service is fee-based or not. Fee-based services will continue operations whereas those that are funded by the government may be closed for business. Employees who conduct “essential activities to the extent that they protect life and property” will continue to work.
Therefore, the DHS will remain operational. The USCIS, Customs and Border Protection and ICE continue operations despite the government shutdown. USCIS services may be delayed to the extent that they rely on outside contractors.
On the other hand, the Department of Labor, the agency through which PERM applications and Labor Condition Applications are filed, has ceased accepting new applications and adjudicating existing ones during the shutdown. This presents an issue for those who need to urgently file PERM applications to retain a priority date or avoid recruitment going stale. Messages posted on the iCert and PERM websites do not allow access to the portals.
Throughout the shutdown, E-Verify will not be operational , immigration courts will remain partly open but Political Asylum cases will be delayed.