Portions of the federal government will shut down at midnight Friday unless lawmakers come to an agreement on either a budget or short-term spending measure. Some federal agencies are already funded for fiscal year 2019, but funding for other agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, will lapse if a measure is not passed. Immigration has been a key sticking point in budget negotiations, with President Donald Trump pushing for funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. In the event of a shutdown:

  • United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and the State Department would continue processing immigration benefit applications and visas, though delays would be likely. The Labor Department would continue its immigration functions, as the agency has already been funded for fiscal year 2019.
  • A number of immigration programs would be unavailable until they are reauthorized, including the E-Verify program, the Conrad 30 waiver for J-1 physicians, the Special Immigrant Religious Workers program, and the EB-5 regional center investor program.

A detailed BAL FAQ on how a government shutdown would affect immigration programs is available here.

Background: Congress passed a two-week spending measure Dec. 6, temporarily avoiding a shutdown of the federal government. Lawmakers have not yet agreed on a spending proposal, however, and a partial shutdown is once again just days away. The White House backed away from a demand that any budget measure include at least $5 billion for the wall, but continues to push for at least some wall funding and other border security measures. It is not yet clear whether Congress will agree to the plan that the Trump administration supports.

BAL Analysis: BAL will continue following events in Washington, D.C., and will provide clients with an update on the outcome of negotiations.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact berryapplemanleiden@bal.com.

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