The federal court has granted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s motion to stay the proceedings in a lawsuit filed by a Russian national against DHS in light of the federal government shutdown.
In an order on Monday, U.S. District Court for the NMI Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona said the lawyer for DHS will notify the court as soon as Congress has appropriated funds for the Department of Justice, so it could resume operations.
“Upon receiving notice from the United States, all current deadlines for the parties shall be extended commensurate with the duration of the lapse in appropriations,” said Manglona in staying the proceedings in Milan Fargo’s case.
Fargo is suing DHS to compel it to issue him certain immigration documents.
The appropriations act that had been funding DOJ expired and appropriations to DOJ lapsed at the end of the day on Dec. 21, 2018.
In DHS’ motion to stay proceedings, assistant U.S. attorney Jessica F. Wessling said the department does not know when funding will be restored by Congress.
Wessling said the Anti-Deficiency Act provides that “in the absence of appropriated funds, no obligation can be incurred except for the protection of life and property [and] the orderly suspension of operations.”
She said that, without an appropriation, DOJ attorneys and employees of the federal DHS are prohibited from working, even on a voluntary basis, except in very limited circumstances, including “emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property.”
Wessling requested a stay of all proceedings in Fargo’s case until Congress has restored appropriations to DOJ, including deadlines and hearings.
According to court records, the 65-year-old Fargo, whose original name is Nassir Nazarovich Kourbanov, is suing DHS to compel it to issue him immigration documents, including some documents from his alien file pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act.
Fargo is on removal proceedings since September 2016 and has been released on his own recognizance.