Starting December 21, 2018, parts of the United States government have been shut down. This is due to disagreements on appropriations between President Trump and congressional leaders. The main sticking point appears to be funding for a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. During the shutdown, some federal agencies are providing skeletal service or completely shut down. For example, the following are impacted: Homeland Security, Justice, Agriculture, Treasury, Others are: Interior, Transportation, Commerce, the Environmental Protection Agency and Housing & Urban Development. Employees of these departments are either furloughed or working without pay. For most of the country, state courts and agencies are not directly impacted by the shutdown at this stage.
Our Firm’s Operations
At ANTOLAK & ONGERI, http://diasporalawyers.com our Firm’s clients have significant interaction with Department of Homeland Security, Justice, Treasury (Internal Revenue Service). This means that our services with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Department of Justice’s Immigration Courts, are likely affected. They include: applications for adjustment of status, citizenship, visa extensions, bond hearings, deportation hearings, appeals and release from ICE custody. Others are tax disputes and resolution with the IRS, filing and processing of tax returns and general inquiries.
Our offices are open and operational during our normal business hours. The appointment and schedule procedures remain intact. Communications by telephone, mail, email or text messages are unaffected. However, our response times may vary depending on the nature of the inquiry and/or action required. If your matter is directly impacted by the shutdown, we will make every effort to apprise you accordingly.
To mitigate the adverse impacts of the shutdown on our clients, we advise the following steps: If you have an open or ongoing matter, be certain to check with our Firm regularly for any updates or changes. The shutdown does not alter the terms of our attorney-client relationship and the parties’ respective obligations. Also, follow any deadlines and instructions previously issued to you unless you are instructed otherwise. If your case has been scheduled for an interview or have a Request for Evidence due, you must adhere to the instructions till further notice. Any delays or failure to respond to these instructions may be detrimental to the benefit you may be seeking.
For cases pending in Immigration Court, plan to attend any scheduled hearings or appearances unless the Court or a member of our Firm instructs otherwise. We are aware of the possible delay in processing any filings but that does not absolve you of the responsibility of keeping any Court-ordered deadlines.
Finally, do not hesitate to contact our Firm at www.diasporalawyers.com with any questions or concerns.