Immigration Law

Houston Immigration Closures (as of 4pm CST, Aug. 28, 2017)

1) From the Houston Asylum Office’ Lubna Fazal, today:

Due to local weather conditions the Houston Asylum Office will be closed for the remainder of the week through Friday Sept 1, 2017. We will continue to monitor the situation and will evaluate re-opening on Tuesday September 5, 2017. We will provide updates accordingly.

As of now all Affirmative asylum interviews at our local Houston Asylum office this week will be rescheduled.

Additionally, all Affirmative interviews the week of 09/4-09/8 at our circuit ride locations in Salt Lake City, Denver and El Paso will be rescheduled.

2) EOIR – All Houston Immigration Courts (Downtown and Detained, including Conroe and Polk) will be closed on Monday and Tuesday. A decision regarding Wednesday and the rest of the week will hopefully be made by Tuesday morning.

3) USCIS Houston Field Office – closed ALL WEEK – please contact your clients if they have appointments this week – they will be rescheduled.

4) ICE – Closed Monday and Tuesday

5) US District and Bankruptcy Court After Hurricane Harvey The United States District and Bankruptcy Courts for the Southern District of Texas have been severely impacted by Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. We are maintaining current information on our web site:

If you have business before the US District and Bankruptcy Courts for the Southern District of Texas, our online resources are available, but be aware that the status of your local courthouse, and any cases set for hearing or trial may be affected. The current status of courthouses in the district is as follows:

BROWNSVILLE: Open for business as normal.

CORPUS CHRISTI: Courthouse is CLOSED Monday and Tuesday. (Emergency Number: 361-244-7932)

GALVESTON: Courthouse is CLOSED all week. (Emergency Number: 409-789-2066)

HOUSTON: Courthouse is CLOSED Monday and Tuesday to the public. All court operations are suspended. (Emergency Number: 832-215-8626)

LAREDO: Open for business as normal.

MCALLEN: Open for business as normal.

VICTORIA: Courthouse is CLOSED all week. (Emergency Number: 361-649-7889)

6) The following was just issued by the Supreme Court of Texas:

The Texas Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals issued an emergency order Monday authorizing modification and suspension of court procedures in proceedings affected by Hurricane Harvey. The order expires September 27 unless the courts extend it.

“Court proceedings … throughout Texas may be affected by the disaster because of closures of courts and clerks’ offices and difficulties with access, travel, and communication by lawyers, parties, and others,” the order states. “Pursuant to Section 22.0035(b) of the Texas Government Code, all courts in Texas should consider disaster-caused delays as good cause for modifying or suspending all deadlines and procedures—whether prescribed by statute, rule, or order—in any case, civil or criminal.”

7) Finally, see below from FEMA regarding CBP/ICE statements on enforcement actions at evacuation shelters:

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hurricane Harvey Rumor Control

Rumor: I’m an undocumented immigrant, I cannot go to a shelter because I will be reported to ICE or CBP.

Fact: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has stated that it is not conducting immigration enforcement at relief sites such as shelters or food banks. In the rare instance where local law enforcement informs ICE of a serious criminal alien at a relief site that presents a public safety threat, ICE will make a determination on a case-by-case basis about the appropriate enforcement actions. More information is available at U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) joint statement. The Federal Government strongly encourages all persons to follow the guidance of local officials and seek shelter regardless of their immigration status.

Most shelters are managed by local communities, the Red Cross, and other voluntary agencies. American Red Cross’ humanitarian mission is to feed, shelter, and provide other forms of support without regard to race, religion, or citizenship status. The Red Cross will not ask people to show any form of identification in order to stay in their shelters. In order to receive some Red Cross services, such as meeting with a caseworker to facilitate disaster recovery, they will need to verify a person’s pre-disaster address. For people who don’t have government-issued identification, the Red Cross can usually do this through alternative means, such as a copy of a utility bill.