President Trump’s border wall impasse and the subsequent government shutdown have affected immigration courts nationwide. Immigration court cases for non-detained individuals will be rescheduled during the shutdown creating a further backlog of cases. Individuals who are detained in the physical custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement will continue to have their cases heard without interruption.
The Department of Justice announced that immigration courts with only non-detained dockets will be closed during the government shutdown, and the court administrators will not accept court filings. Courts with detained dockets will receive all filings, but will only process those filings related to the detained docket.
While Trump has repeatedly asserted his desire to eliminate the backlog of cases in the immigration courts, he has done little to advance this goal. Early in his administration, he eliminated prosecutorial discretion, a policy which allowed Immigration Judges to set aside low priority immigration cases to help relieve the backlog of cases. The government shutdown will further add to the immigration court backlog as all non-detained cases must now be rescheduled.