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Federal Government Shutdown In The US Halts Civil, Immigration Cases

05 Oct 2013


Immigration News

Due to the federal government shutdown in the US, most of the civil prosecutions are being shelved by US attorneys, and except for the most pressing cases, immigration courts are closed.

A directive was issued by the Justice Department issued saying US lawyers will continue handling criminal cases to maintain the protection of property and the safety of human life.

The department also said that civil cases are to be postponed or curtailed to the extent where it will not essentially compromise the protection of property or people's safety.

Across the US, the attorneys' offices are operating at 63% of their usual staffing levels, including non-lawyers and lawyers. Some high-profile cases are delayed due to the furloughs.

Meanwhile, according to a posted notice on the immigration courts' website, a broad majority of immigration courts have been closed. However, for immigrants being held in detention, hearings are still taking place which means that the cases of most immigrants seeking asylum or fighting deportation in the courts are not being heard.

In a system besieged with backlogs, many people have already awaited a court date for months or years and Advocates say that now they may have to wait much longer.

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