The US government shutdown which is continuing for about last one month is having a devastating impact on the immigration system of the country. It started following a dispute over border-wall funding but has now led to a worrisome situation. Due to the shutdown, about 3,80,000 federal employees are out of work and hence they are not receiving paychecks. Among the number of mentioned furloughed employees, about 400 immigration judges were supposed to hear the cases of immigrants staying in various detention centers in the US. They were to decide whether to put the immigrants within the country or deport them.
According to the data available, because of the shutdown, 42,786 cases which were supposed to be heard by judges got cancelled. Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) said there will be a piling up of around 1,00,000 immigrant cases. It further said that the rescheduling of these many cases will take many years as there will not be the availability of judges in the near time. A huge number of immigrants who were supposed to get a hearing date for their case won’t get judge for many years. Hence, they would have to wait for a long time until the rescheduling of their case takes place. According to the judge Dana Leigh Marks, this would further strain the immigration system of the country which is already a big problem.
“It’s been a devastating impact to have our immigration courts shut down,” Marks said. “Many of the cases that are being canceled for the shutdown have been on my docket already for two or three or four years, and now I have no time in the foreseeable future to reset them. It could be another three or four years before those people can expect hearings on their cases.”
The shutdown is not likely to end soon as president Donald Trump has threatened to keep the government closed for “months or years”. Apart from the immigration system, the other services which have got affected because of the shutdown are airport security, food inspections, and the US economic growth would suffer a lot due to the lapse of federal funding.