On September 27th, the Department of Justice posted a “contingency plan” outlining how the agency will conduct its business if the governments shuts down at the end of the day today.  By all accounts, if the Senate doesn’t do something today to pass a spending bill before midnight, the government will no longer have funding authority and will have to close non-essential functions.

According to the DOJ contingency plan, only appeals related to “detained aliens, including criminal aliens” will continue to be processed.  If the shutdown is very short, it is not clear whether this will delay non-detained cases at all (given that non-detained BIA Appeals are still taking about a year).  If you have an appeal or brief that is due during the shutdown, it is important to still send your documents to the Board using a shipping method that verifies delivery (such as FedEx or UPS).  We are unaware whether the BIA clerk’s office will remain open, although it seems it would if the Board will continue to adjudicated detained appeals.