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Department of Homeland Security Shutdown 2015: The Effect on Immigration Services

The Senate remains at a stalemate over funding of the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”), with funding running out on Friday, February 27. A full budget was passed for the rest of the US government in December. However, the Congressional majority Republicans limited funding for DHS, which includes the immigration-related agencies, through midnight, February 27, “in reaction to President Obama’s immigration actions.” (

Practically, this “shutdown” will not, in fact, shut down the immigration agencies. United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) derives a large portion of its budget from fees, not Congress. During the complete government shutdown of 2013, we observed processing delays from USCIS, and expect the same if a budget is not passed.

However, we expect that E-Verify will be shut down. At the time of the 2013 shut down, DHS announced, “citizens and U.S. businesses will not be able to access E-Verify, the Internet based system that allows employers to voluntarily determine the eligibility of prospective employees to work in the United States.”

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Susan J. Cohen

Member / Founder and Chair Emeritus, Immigration Practice

Susan J. Cohen is Chair of Mintz's Immigration Practice and a nationally recognized Immigration lawyer. She helps corporate clients manage immigration challenges. Susan is an American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) member and she's contributed to state and federal immigration regulations.