Government Shutdown: As many of you know government shutdown ended on October 17. Congress decided to push out the issues about government budget and debt ceiling till Jan 2014 and Feb 2014. Republican leader said that they would not longer decide to shutdown the government to remove funding from the health care law which was passed few years ago.
All government agencies are now currently open and functioning as usual (though there could be a delay due to backlog). Many agencies including USCIS has provided relief to applicants who may have been affected by the government shutdown.
USCIS: If an H-1B, H-2A, or H-2B petitioner submits evidence establishing that the primary reason for failing to timely file an extension of stay or change of status request was due to the government shutdown, USCIS will consider the government shutdown as an extraordinary circumstance and excuse the late filing, if the petitioner meets all other applicable requirements.
Processing Time: USCIS has updated their monthly processing times for all applications currently pending at USCIS as of 08/31/2013. For I-485 application, the average processing time is 4 months. However each individual case can be faster or slower (due to many factors involved).
Congress In Recess: Both House and Senate are currently in recess till Oct 28. Recess is when Congress members go back to their districts and meet with their constituents to discuss new matters and which bills to create.
Immigration Courts: These are currently open during regular business hours. Both detained and non-detained cases will be heard as scheduled. If additional schedule changes are necessary, the immigration court with administrative control over the case will notify the parties to the case. Immigration courts will provide new notices of hearing for all non-detained cases that were not heard due to the lapse in government funding.
The Board of Immigration Appeals has returned to normal operations. Guidance regarding filings that were due during the lapse in government funding will be available in the near future.
The Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer has returned to normal operations.
Immigration Reform: President Obama has said that once the government budget and debt ceiling has been taken care of, he would start pushing for comprehensive immigration reform. For latest immigration news (updated every 15 minutes), please see link: http://www.mygcvisa.com/news/