Government Shutdown Adding to Immigration Backlog

The partial government shutdown is adding to the immigration court backlog, and could force the process to start all over again in some cases.

There are about 800,000 pending cases, but immigration lawyer Eric Cedillo says those in detention are still having their cases heard, for now.

“People applying for asylum, they're in detention currently, those cases are continuing, immigration judges still are working on those,” says Cedillo.

But fellow immigration attorney Gordon Quan says others who are simply waiting for background checks or paperwork to clear have been put on the back burner again.

“There's a case that is scheduled next week that's been going on and on for eight years, now it looks like that's going to have to go on even longer,” he says.

The federal courts say they have enough leftover money to keep judges on the bench through January 11, but that does not include DOJ lawyers.

“We're constantly getting updates as to whether the courts will be open,what cases they are listening to and what cases they're not going tobe hearing at this point,” says Quan.  “We're somewhat in limbo ourselves, constantly checking to see whether the case is a go or not.”

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