Many Pennsylvania immigrants are currently detained for various reasons. While some immigrant may have sought asylum and must reside in detention until their cases are fully processed, others may be scheduled for a removal hearing. The current, partial U.S. government shutdown is reportedly having a negative impact on many immigrants, especially those who were prepared to appear at interviews or hearings, who have since been told that their appointments are indefinitely postponed.

Those who follow immigration news on a state or national level may already know that there is a tremendous backlog of court cases, sometimes stretching into months or even years. In fact, one immigration judge who was willing to speak about the issue stated that the current caseload places a heavy burden on judges and the current shutdown may only exacerbate the problem. The judge also said that the focus should be on the overall immigration system, not just border security issues.

Immigration courts operate under the U.S. Department of Justice. While immigration courts are currently still hearing cases pertaining to immigrants in detention, the fact is that not every immigrant scheduled for a removal hearing is detained. Current data shows that there have been more than one million backlogged immigration cases in the United States throughout 2018 to the present.

Some immigrant advocates say the shutdown might help an immigrant avoid a removal hearing or, at least, delay proceedings by giving him or her time to get married to a U.S. citizen or explore other potential options for avoiding deportation. Even experienced Pennsylvania attorneys have their work cut out to keep up with U.S. immigration laws that are constantly changing. However, seeking support from an attorney who is used to handling immigration issues is always a good idea as opposed to trying to resolve a particular problem on one’s own.