Immigration 101

The enforcement of immigration laws is a complex and hotly-debated topic. Learn more about the costs of immigration enforcement and the ways in which the U.S. can enforce our immigration laws humanely and in a manner that ensures due process.

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October 10, 2019
U.S. immigration law is very complex, and there is much confusion as to how it works. This fact sheet provides basic information about how the U.S. legal immigration system is designed.
October 1, 2019
There is no line available for unauthorized immigrants and the “regular channels” do not include them.
September 6, 2019
The fact is that building a fortified and impenetrable wall between the United States and Mexico is unnecessary, complicated, ineffective, expensive, and would create a host of additional problems.
July 1, 2019
To better understand the changing interior enforcement trends under the Trump administration, this report analyzes individual-level data on immigration enforcement outcomes.
May 21, 2019
This fact sheet provides an overview of how Temporary Protected Status designations are made, what benefits TPS confers, and how TPS beneficiaries apply for and regularly renew their status.
April 30, 2019
This report uncovers the degree to which contact with immigrants and personal values are associated with views about unauthorized immigrants.
December 5, 2018
This analysis reveals that individuals detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were commonly held in privately operated and remotely located facilities, far away from basic community...
July 18, 2018
This fact sheet provides an overview of how USCIS calculates processing times and the concerns over the accuracy of these estimates.
June 11, 2018
Some confusion exists regarding the economic aspects of family-based immigration. To help unpack those aspects, this report focuses on one of them—namely, the earnings of family-based immigrants.
May 23, 2018
Deportations of parents and family members have serious consequences that affect children and extend to communities and the country as a whole.
July 16, 2019
The statement highlights the Council’s concerns regarding systemic U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services delays in responding to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
December 11, 2018
The American Immigration Council, with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, filed comments because a financial litmus test should never serve as a measure for who we welcome into our country.
February 15, 2018
The statement includes our report, The Criminalization of Immigration in the United States, which details empirical data demonstrating that immigration is not linked to higher crime rates.
April 19, 2016
The statement shares empirical data which shows that immigration is associated with lower crime rates and immigrants are less likely than the native-born to be serious criminals.
April 18, 2016
Our empirical research shows that there is abundant evidence that immigration is not linked to higher crime rates and that immigration is associated with lower crime rates and immigrants are less likely than the native-born to be serious criminals.
February 6, 2016
The statement shares our analysis and research regarding the children and families that have fled Central American violence to the United States.
October 21, 2015
The statement shares our research and analysis regarding the children and families that have fled Central American violence to the United States.
July 21, 2015
The statement highlights that immigrants are less likely to be serious criminals than the native-born and that high rates of immigration are associated with lower rates of violent crimes and property crimes.
July 7, 2015
The statement highlights our revised report, A Guide to Children Arriving at the Border: Laws, Policies and Responses (June 2015), which explains why children are fleeing their homes in Central America, what happens to the children once they are in U.S. custody, and what the government has done in response.
April 29, 2015
The statement details our research and policy analysis on why attempts to restrict "birthright citizenship" would be unconstitutional, unnecessary, impractical, counterproductive, and contrary to American values.
October 4, 2019
This practice advisory summarizes the most common grounds raised by the government in motions to dismiss federal court agency adjudication delay lawsuits and outlines arguments, with supporting authority, that can be made in response.
September 10, 2018
This Practice Advisory provides a practitioner-focused overview of motions to continue a case in removal proceedings, from the basics of making the motion to advanced issues of jurisdictional bars to appellate review of continuances.
February 7, 2018

This practice advisory provides a basic overview of motions to reopen removal orders that are filed with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), which consists of immigration courts...

March 8, 2017
This Practice Advisory provides basic information about filing an immigration-related mandamus action in federal district court. It discusses the required elements of a successful mandamus action as well as jurisdictional concerns that may arise.
February 13, 2017
This Practice Advisory provides a broad overview of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), including how to make a FOIA request and how to appeal an inadequate response. It discusses the...
October 22, 2015
This Practice Advisory focuses on the meaning of “admission” in four very specific, but frequently encountered situations: a “wave-through” at a port of entry; and entry based on misrepresentation; an entry based on a false claim to U.S. citizenship; and the grant of TPS as an admission for purposes of adjustment of status.
February 5, 2014
The American Immigration Council’s Practice Advisory, Employment Authorization and Asylum: Strategies to Avoid Stopping the Asylum Clock, has been updated to reflect extensive changes to the manner in which the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) determine an asylum applicant’s eligibility for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
November 14, 2019

In a new proposal officially put forward on Thursday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) called for major fee hikes for immigration-related applications. The cost for becoming a...

November 12, 2019

Poland officially began its participation in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) on November 11. Under the program, Polish nationals can now spend up to 90 days in the United States without first...

November 4, 2019

A federal judge temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s health care ban on Saturday, one day before it was scheduled to go into effect. The ban would have barred entry for any prospective...

October 31, 2019

At a House Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee Hearing on Tuesday, Congress heard testimony from experts about the impact of recent immigration policies affecting foreign-born military members,...

October 30, 2019

The cost of filing an application for citizenship—usually a hefty $725—has long been a barrier for some immigrants. Now, a change to the naturalization process may leave even more people priced...

October 25, 2019

Beginning in December, all New Yorkers will be able to apply for a driver’s license—regardless of immigration status. The Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act, or “Green Light” bill, passed the...

October 21, 2019

The ideology of President Trump is about more than limiting how many immigrants enter the United States each year; it’s about turning back the clock on U.S. social history. A recent analysis by...

October 17, 2019

A federal court in San Francisco certified two nationwide classes of immigrants and attorneys challenging extreme agency delays in producing immigration case files. Plaintiffs allege that U.S....

October 9, 2019

President Trump invoked the same legal authority used for the Travel Ban to impose a sweeping new ban on legal immigration last week. Under the new ban, which analysis suggests could block as much...

September 25, 2019

The mass deportation of immigrants from the United States under the Secure Communities program has had no appreciable impact on local crime rates. Why? Because most of the immigrants being...

August 12, 2019
The Department of Homeland Security announced a new regulation that redefines who can be considered a “public charge” under immigration law. The new regulation will likely have a chilling effect on America’s family-based immigration system, drastically limiting who will be permitted into the United States.
April 30, 2019
A new report by the American Immigration Council finds that Americans’ attitudes toward unauthorized immigrants are, among other factors, deeply related to their personal values and to the type of contact they have with immigrants in their daily lives.
December 5, 2018
A report on immigration detention examines the United States’ complex, sprawling network of facilities used to detain immigrants. The report, “The Landscape of Immigration Detention in the United States,” reveals that detained individuals were commonly held in facilities operated by private entities and located in remote areas, far away from basic community support structures and legal advocacy networks.
November 21, 2018
The American Immigration Council announced today that it will focus on the critical need for access to an attorney when navigating the immigration system during its #GivingTuesday and year-end fundraising campaign starting November 27.
November 8, 2018
The Trump administration revealed today a new interim final regulation that restricts access to asylum at the border, causing chaos and uncertainty for many seeking protection.
October 30, 2018
President Donald Trump said yesterday in an interview that he plans to sign an executive order to eliminate birthright citizenship, a principle enshrined in the U.S. Constitution that grants citizenship to any person born within the territory of the United States.
June 12, 2018
Through analysis of data from the decennial census and administrative data from the Immigration and Naturalization Service, this special report examines the earnings gains over time of all immigrants, as well as the earnings gains experienced by family-based immigrants compared to employment-based immigrants.
September 21, 2016
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) immigration report takes a comprehensive look at the fiscal and economic impact of immigration.
July 21, 2015

Washington D.C.

November 14, 2019

In a new proposal officially put forward on Thursday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) called for major fee hikes for immigration-related applications. The cost for becoming a...

November 12, 2019

Poland officially began its participation in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP) on November 11. Under the program, Polish nationals can now spend up to 90 days in the United States without first...

November 4, 2019

A federal judge temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s health care ban on Saturday, one day before it was scheduled to go into effect. The ban would have barred entry for any prospective...

October 31, 2019

At a House Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee Hearing on Tuesday, Congress heard testimony from experts about the impact of recent immigration policies affecting foreign-born military members,...

October 30, 2019

The cost of filing an application for citizenship—usually a hefty $725—has long been a barrier for some immigrants. Now, a change to the naturalization process may leave even more people priced...

October 25, 2019

Beginning in December, all New Yorkers will be able to apply for a driver’s license—regardless of immigration status. The Driver’s License Access and Privacy Act, or “Green Light” bill, passed the...

October 21, 2019

The ideology of President Trump is about more than limiting how many immigrants enter the United States each year; it’s about turning back the clock on U.S. social history. A recent analysis by...

October 17, 2019

A federal court in San Francisco certified two nationwide classes of immigrants and attorneys challenging extreme agency delays in producing immigration case files. Plaintiffs allege that U.S....

October 10, 2019
U.S. immigration law is very complex, and there is much confusion as to how it works. This fact sheet provides basic information about how the U.S. legal immigration system is designed.
October 9, 2019

President Trump invoked the same legal authority used for the Travel Ban to impose a sweeping new ban on legal immigration last week. Under the new ban, which analysis suggests could block as much...

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