Things to Know About Homeland Security Shut Down

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will run out of money at midnight Friday (February 27, 2015), if the two chambers of the U.S. Congress fail to agree on a funding bill. The House of Representatives passed a bill to fund DHS. But the Democrats are against that bill as it includes amendments to defund programs that were set to be implemented under President’s Obama’s executive actions.

These amendments would prevent funds from being used to implement immigration relief programs. This includes the current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. If the funding bill of the House with amendments to block the President’s actions is passed, this program will also come to an end. Likewise, the Obama administration will not be able to implement other relief programs that were announced in November 2014.

If a funding bill is not passed by the U.S. Congress, DHS will be at the risk of shutting down. However, other government agencies may not be affected if a funding bill is not passed. If the U.S. Congress does not pass a bill by February 27, 2015, as many as 30,000 DHS workers would be furloughed. But more than 80 percent of DHS employees whose jobs are essential for the country’s security would still go to work. However, they would not be paid. U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Transportation Security Administration and U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency are the federal agencies that would be affected if a funding bill is not passed.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will not be affected by the shut down as the agency is funded by the application filing fees it collects. However, U.S. employers may not be able to use the E-Verify system as the employees maintaining this system would be furloughed.

New relief programs, announced by President Obama in November 2014, have been put on hold after a federal judge issued an injunction to temporarily block his actions. The Obama administration is appealing the judge’s ruling and is confident that the ruling will be overturned. If the ruling is overruled, the relief programs announced by the President will be implemented despite DHS shut down.

However, many believe that a bill to temporarily fund the department will be passed by the lawmakers to prevent DHS from shutting down.