WASHINGTON — Democratic Congressman Darren Soto says the looming government shutdown is a “deep concern” for himself and other members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, especially in how a shutdown might affect immigration related issues. 

What You Need To Know

  • Central Florida Congressman Darren Soto is the Vice Chair of Policy for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus

  • The group held an immigration roundtable on Capitol Hill this week

  • He says a shutdown of the federal government would adversely affect several immigration related programs

"Payment for Customs and Border Protection, you know, these are salaries of folks who are protecting our nation, making sure to run USCIS for visas, passports, parole, TPS work permits," Soto said. "All these things can be slowed down during a shutdown."

Officials with the Department of Homeland Security, which houses United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, say about 72% of the DHS workforce, or 185,000 workers, would be required to work without pay during a shutdown

Immigration attorney Leon Fresco, with Holland & Knight LLP, said a shutdown would affect various immigration-related agencies differently. 

He said immigration courts would be affected the most — cases for people in detention will move forward, but other cases may need to be rescheduled.

"For the 2 million cases that are outside of detention, those cases — let's say there's a shutdown for a month, none of those cases are heard, and have to be rescheduled," Fresco said. 

Fresco said that could result in a massive backlog.

"One month of backlog are tens of thousands of cases that don't get heard," he said. "Plus, whatever now new cases you have coming into the border for the month of October."

Fresco said there could also be impacts for employers when it comes to hiring, because of delayed work permits, and the E-Verify system shutting down. 

"The E -Verify system, which is what a lot of companies use to hire people, that system actually shuts down during a shutdown," he said. 

"We have a labor shortage in Florida, and it'll slow down the ability for these folks get work permits to help a lot of small businesses who sure can use more employees right now," Soto said. 

DHS officials say 19,0000 U.S. Border Patrol agents and 25,000 Office of Field Operations officers would be among those unpaid DHS workers should a shutdown occur.