Today a partial government shutdown went into effect after Congress remains divided about a budget bill for the new fiscal year. Many branches of the government will close temporarily, limiting vital services to the American people. The following is a list of services related to what we do at HRI that will be closed until further notice:
- Executive Office for Immigration Review: The Dallas Immigration court will only be hearing cases of immigrants who are in detention. HRI does not represent detained immigrants; therefore, our clients from both Asylum and Women & Children’s Programs will be affected, and face the possibility of having their hearings postponed to a later time. These courts will also be closed to accepting documents, as their filing windows are also closed.
- EOIR automated hotline: HRI uses this hotline to receive updates on all of our cases in immigration court, including asylum and children’s cases. Without this service, updates for hearings, appeals and other important information are impossible to obtain.
- Social Security Administration: SSA has stopped processing requests for new and replacement cards. Social security cards are one of the first benefits that immigrants with new status apply for with the help of HRI’s Social Services Director. This card allows clients to apply for a driver’s license, and to access Federal benefits and other vital resources.
- USCIS Ombudsman – The USCIS Ombudsman Office attempts to provide assistance with pending cases that are outside processing times or have some other problem. During the shutdown, the USCIS Ombudsman will not return emails or telephone calls and will not respond to case inquiries.