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Held up by the shutdown: Immigration hearings, FCC complaints, D.C. marriage licenses

With all the attention on the showdown between Congress and the president, it’s easy to be distracted from the everyday impact of the government shutdown. Judy Woodruff explains some of these repercussions, from delayed immigration hearings to unresolved FCC complaints to unavailable D.C. marriage licenses.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Before we go tonight, we wanted to spend a moment or two spelling out the ripple effects of the partial government shutdown, how it's affecting the American people in many different ways.

    A big one, overburdened immigration courts. Most immigration judges and attorneys are not showing up for scheduled hearings until full funding resumes. That will add even more delays to a huge backlog of cases. There are already more than 800,000. And for each day of the shutdown, thousands of cases will be pushed back indefinitely, and possibly even for years.

    The Federal Communications Commission said that it is suspending most operations beginning today. Most consumer complaints will not be monitored and enforcement won't be happening. But widespread emergencies or cell phone outages will be addressed.

    Here in Washington, D.C., the shutdown has meant trouble for those about to get married in the city. Anyone trying to get a marriage license can't. That's because the marriage bureau is at the local court, and the court gets its funding through the federal government.

    This couple showed up there two days before their wedding and found out the news. As they put it on Instagram, "We can't call it an official wedding until the government reopens." But they closed out 2018 "with a really, really, really good party with those we love most."

    Washington's mayor, Muriel Bowser, has pledged to pass legislation quickly so the city can legally issue marriage licenses during a shutdown. She said in a statement: "Just like the Grinch can't steal Christmas, the shutdown can't stop love."

    Online, we answer your questions about the shutdown. You can find that on our Web site, PBS.org/NewsHour.

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