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EOIR Updates Guidance on Immigration Court Filings After Government Shutdown, Changes Zip Code

The Department of Justice's Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) issued updated guidance on October 25, 2013, about immigration court filings following the U.S. government shutdown. The guidance notes that during the government shutdown (October 1-16, 2013), EOIR was operating in a limited capacity. Immigration courts nationwide continued to adjudicate "detained" cases but all other functions were suspended.

The guidance notes that any filing with the immigration court related to a "non-detained" case that was due October 1-16, 2013, will be considered timely filed if it is received by the appropriate court by November 8, 2013. No request for, or documentation supporting, an extension is required if the appropriate court receives the originally due filing before the close of business on November 8. EOIR said it will issue new notices of hearing for cases affected by the lapse in government funding. Cases will be scheduled for available dates on the docket, but will not be scheduled in a way “that would cause disruption to previously scheduled cases.”

EOIR also noted that the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) processed only filings related to detained cases during the lapse in government funding. The BIA accepted all filings during that period. Also, EOIR transitioned to zip code 20530 on October 1, 2013. Due to the convergence of those two events, the BIA said it will consider timely filed any filing that meets both of these criteria:

(1) the filing was due during the month of October 2013; and
(2) the BIA received the filing on or before November 1, 2013.

No request for, or documentation supporting, an extension is required for filings that arrive at the BIA by November 1, 2013. Filings that arrive after November 1, 2013, will be subject to normal filing deadlines. If timeliness is an issue for any filings that the BIA receives after November 1, 2013, the BIA recommends consulting the BIA Practice Manual.

EOIR said that the Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) maintained its ability to issue subpoenas and accept complaints required to be filed by statutory deadlines. OCAHO granted all requests for extensions of time or temporary stays of proceedings made during that period, and accepted all filings received. Future requests for extensions or stays will be decided on a case-by-case basis, EOIR said.



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