The government shutdown has delayed civil cases and continues to raise uncertainty about the federal courts immediate future. If the shutdown continues past Thursday, reserve funds that the federal courts have been using since the October 1st start of the shutdown will run out. Criminal cases, bankruptcy cases and most appeals continue to move forward in the system. However, civil cases and those in immigration court are feeling the greatest impact from the shutdown.
Immigration court proceedings are largely shutdown. Rafael Sanchez has been waiting two years to make his case for a green card after he and his family from Bogota, Colombia, overstayed their U.S. tourist visa in 1997. Their New Hampshire court hearing scheduled for October 9th was canceled because of the shutdown. Sanchez’s daughter, a high school senior, is not sure if she will be able to attend college now, as she will not qualify for financial aid without her green card. If the shutdown continues into the second half of October, juror reimbursement funds could run out as well – which would force courts to issue IOUs to jurors for their service.
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