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Just the Facts

Immigration Fact Checks provide up-to-date information on the most current issues involving immigration today.

The Exchange Visitor Program and J-1 Visas

The Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) was created as part of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 (The Fulbright–Hays Act) to allow foreign nationals to temporarily reside in the United States and participate in a variety of education or training programs and to promote cultural exchange between the United States and other countries. The program is grounded in U.S. public diplomacy efforts and its stated purpose is:

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Published On: Mon, May 16, 2016 | Download File

Children in Immigration Court: Over 95 Percent Represented by an Attorney Appear in Court

Over the past few years, thousands of children—many fleeing horrific levels of violence in Central America—have arrived at the U.S. border in need of protection. Most children are placed in deportation proceedings before an immigration judge, where they will carry the legal burden of proving that they should be allowed to remain in the United States. The government does not guarantee them the right to a lawyer, even if they are alone (i.e., without a parent) and/or unable to hire one. As a result, many children must navigate the complicated immigration system without legal representation.

These children, many of whom experienced trauma, are new to this country and often do not speak English. They face many obstacles that may prevent them from appearing for their court proceedings, including their lack of understanding of the process and their dependence on adults for transportation. Yet, despite these obstacles, a majority of children do attend their immigration proceedings and the attendance rate is especially high (95 percent) for those who are represented by lawyers.Read more...

Published On: Mon, May 16, 2016 | Download File

Understanding the Legal Challenges to Executive Action

On November 20 and 21, 2014, President Barack Obama announced a series of administrative reforms of immigration policy, collectively called the Immigration Accountability Executive Action. The centerpiece of these reforms is an expansion of the current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) initiative for the parents of U.S citizens and lawful permanent residents who meet certain criteria. Together, these initiatives could provide as many as 5 million immigrants with temporary relief from deportation. Moreover, DAPA and expanded DACA is expected not only to keep families united, but also to increase U.S. gross domestic product, increase tax revenue, and raise wages.

Like the original DACA initiative, both expanded DACA and DAPA derive from the executive branch’s authority to exercise discretion in the prosecution and enforcement of immigration cases. In both instances, the President has authorized the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to defer for three years the deportation of qualified individuals who pose no threat to the United States in the hope that Congress will finally undertake more permanent, comprehensive immigration reform.

Within hours of the announcement, notorious Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio challenged the President’s plan to defer deportations in a Washington, D.C., federal court, in a case named Arpaio v. Obama. Shortly thereafter, representatives of 17 states filed a similar case in a Brownsville, Texas, federal court, with 9 other states later joining the lawsuit, in a case named Texas v. United States. On the other hand, a broad spectrum of supporters—including 15 states and the District of Columbia—filed “friend-of-the-court” briefs supporting the President’s plan.Read more...

Published On: Tue, Apr 19, 2016 | Download File

The Facts about the Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)

The Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to ensure that people – including unauthorized immigrants – pay taxes even if they do not have a Social Security number and regardless of their immigration status. Read more...

Published On: Tue, Apr 05, 2016 | Download File

Adding Up the Billions in Tax Dollars Paid by Undocumented Immigrants

Often lost in political and policy debates about undocumented immigration is a simple yet crucial fact: undocumented immigrants pay taxes. Like everyone else in the United States, they pay sales taxes. They also pay property taxes—even if they rent. As a report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) points out, “the best evidence suggests that at least 50 percent of undocumented immigrant households currently file income tax returns using Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITINs), and many who do not file income tax returns still have taxes deducted from their paychecks.” The end result is that undocumented immigrants are paying billions of dollars each year in taxes. Moreover, as several studies have found, undocumented immigrants would earn much more, and therefore pay much more in taxes, if they had some sort of legal status, be it permanent or temporary. Not surprisingly, permanent status yields more tax revenue than temporary status. Read more...

Published On: Mon, Apr 04, 2016 | Download File

The H-1B Visa Program: A Primer on the Program and Its Impact on Jobs, Wages, and the Economy

Every year, U.S. employers seeking highly skilled foreign professionals submit their petitions on the first business day in April for the pool of H-1B visa numbers for which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) controls the allocation. With a statutory limit of 65,000 visa numbers available for new hires—and 20,000 additional visa numbers for foreign professionals who graduate with a Master’s or Doctorate from a U.S. university—in recent years demand for H-1B visa numbers has outstripped the supply and the cap has been reached quickly. This fact sheet provides an overview of the H-1B visa category and petition process, addresses the myths perpetuated about the H-1B visa category, and highlights the key contributions H-1B workers make to the U.S. economy. 

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Published On: Fri, Apr 01, 2016 | Download File

The EB-5 Visa Program: What It Is and How It Works

The Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5,” has become an increasingly important source of investment for development projects in the United States, attracting billions of dollars to the U.S. economy and creating tens of thousands of jobs in the United States. However, the program is unlike any other managed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in that it is the only visa program whose stated purpose is to create jobs and growth. This mandate creates special challenges and opportunities. Read more...

Published On: Tue, Feb 02, 2016 | Download File

An Overview of U.S. Refugee Law and Policy

The United States passed its first official refugee legislation to address the plight of displaced Europeans following World War II.  Most refugees are displaced from their country of origin to a neighboring country, and then resettled to a third country through international organizations. The United States resettles more refugees than any other country, refugees who go on to contribute to our communities and our economy.  

What is a refugee?

A refugee, as defined by Section 101(a)(42) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), is a person who is unable or unwilling to return to his or her home country because of a “well-founded fear of persecution” due to race, membership in a particular social group, political opinion, religion, or national origin. This definition is based on the United Nations 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocols relating to the Status of Refugees, which the United States became a party to in 1968. Following the Vietnam War and the country’s experience resettling Indochinese refugees, Congress passed the Refugee Act of 1980, which incorporated the Convention’s definition into U.S. law and provides the legal basis for today’s U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP).Read more...

Published On: Wed, Nov 18, 2015 | Download File

Way Too Long: Prolonged Detention in Border Patrol Holding Cells, Government Records Show

Each year, the Border Patrol, a division of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), holds hundreds of thousands of people in detention facilities near the southern border that are extremely cold, frequently overcrowded, and routinely lacking in adequate food, water, medical care, and access to legal counsel. Although CBP intends these facilities only for short-term detention—meaning that a person should be held there less than 12 hours—data obtained by the American Immigration Council through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) shows that the Border Patrol regularly uses them to detain people for prolonged periods. Over 80 percent of people detained by the Border Patrol in its Tucson Sector are held for over 24 hours, meaning that men, women and children are forced to sleep on concrete floors and hard benches in holding cells that lack beds and are not equipped for sleeping. 

Border Patrol Holding Cells: An Overview

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2014, the Border Patrol apprehended 479,371 individuals along the U.S.-Mexico border. Typically, when Border Patrol agents apprehend an individual near the southern border, they confine that individual in a holding cell while they complete his or her initial processing. After processing, detained individuals are released, repatriated to their home countries via formal removal or informal return, or transferred to the custody of another federal agency.   Read more...

Published On: Wed, Jun 10, 2015 | Download File

Only the Beginning: The Economic Potential of Executive Action on Immigration

The series of executive actions on immigration which President Obama announced on November 20, 2014, would have a beneficial—if modest—impact on the U.S. economy. Specifically, the president’s actions are likely to increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP), reduce the federal deficit, and raise both tax revenue and average wages—all without having any appreciable impact on native-born employment. Most, though not all, of these economic gains would flow from two actions in particular: creation of a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program, which would grant temporary relief from deportation, as well as work authorization, to some unauthorized parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents; and expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which offers relief from deportation and work authorization to qualified young adults who were brought to the United States as children. However, research suggests that comprehensive immigration reform legislation would yield even greater economic benefits than the programs created through executive action. Read more...

Published On: Wed, Mar 11, 2015 | Download File