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Special Reports

Our most in-depth publication, Special Reports provide detailed analyses of special topics in U.S. immigration policy.

Enforcement Overdrive: A Comprehensive Assessment of ICE’s Criminal Alien Program

The Criminal Alien Program (CAP) is a massive enforcement program administered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and has become the primary channel through which interior immigration enforcement takes place. Between two-thirds and three-quarters of individuals removed from the interior of the United States are removed through CAP. Each year, Congress allocates hundreds of millions of dollars to fund this program. Until now, however, little has been known about how CAP works, whom CAP deports, and whether CAP has been effective in meeting its goals.


Published On: Mon, Nov 02, 2015 | Download File

A Humane Approach Can Work: The Effectiveness of Alternatives to Detention for Asylum Seekers

For decades, the U.S. refugee protection system has been a symbol of the nation’s generosity and openness to the world’s persecuted. Yet since Congress’ enactment of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), asylum seekers arriving at the United States-Mexico border have been subject to mandatory detention and summary deportation processes, resulting in the deportation of countless persons in need of protection. Read more...

Published On: Wed, Jul 22, 2015 | Download File

A Guide to Children Arriving at the Border: Laws, Policies and Responses

The American Immigration Council is updating this Guide which was first issued in summer 2014. It provides information about the tens of thousands of children—some travelling with their parents and others alone—who have fled their homes in Central America and arrived at our southern border. Read more...

Published On: Fri, Jun 26, 2015 | Download File

A Guide to the Immigration Accountability Executive Action

On November 20 and 21, 2014, President Obama announced his “immigration accountability executive action,” which includes a series of measures that are first steps towards common-sense reforms to an outdated immigration system. Read more...

Published On: Fri, Mar 13, 2015 | Download File

New American Investors Making a Difference in the Economy

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. 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, Sep 30, 2014 | Download File

Reimagining the Midwest: Immigration Initiatives and the Capacity of Local Leadership

Elected and civic leaders throughout the Midwest are recognizing that they have a role to play in shaping immigration policy despite inaction at the federal level, according to a report released by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the American Immigration Council.  Read more...

Published On: Mon, Sep 22, 2014 | Download File

Children in Danger: A Guide to the Humanitarian Challenge at the Border

This guide has been updated. Please see A Guide to Children Arriving at the Border: Laws, Policies and Responses for the latest information.

The American Immigration Council has prepared this guide in order to provide policymakers, the media, and the public with basic information surrounding the current humanitarian challenge the U.S. is facing as thousands of young migrants show up at our southern border. This guide seeks to explain the basics. Who are the unaccompanied children and why are they coming? What basic protections are they entitled to by law? What happens to unaccompanied children once they are in U.S. custody? What has the government done so far? What additional responses have been proposed to address this issue? Read more...

Published On: Thu, Jul 10, 2014 | Download File

Two Years and Counting: Assessing the Growing Power of DACA

This week marks the two-year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, first initiated by President Obama on June 15, 2012.  This research brief presents current findings from the National UnDACAmented Research Project (NURP) national survey on the impact that DACA has had on some of the young people who have received it.


Published On: Mon, Jun 16, 2014 | Download File

Mexican and Central American Asylum and Credible Fear Claims: Background and Context

Carlos Gutierrez, a successful businessman in Chihuahua, Mexico, and the married father of two, refused to comply with a criminal cartel’s monthly demands of $10,000. In retribution for his refusal and as an example to other businessmen, his feet were cut off and he was left for dead. According to his former attorney, that kind of “organized crime is not possible without the complicity of the municipal, state and federal police.”


Published On: Wed, May 21, 2014 | Download File

No Action Taken: Lack of CBP Accountability in Responding to Complaints of Abuse

Data obtained by the American Immigration Council shine a light on the lack of accountability and transparency which afflicts the U.S. Border Patrol and its parent agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The data, which the Immigration Council acquired through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, covers 809 complaints of alleged abuse lodged against Border Patrol agents between January 2009 and January 2012. These cases run the gamut of physical, sexual, and verbal abuse. Although it is not possible to determine which cases had merit and which did not, it is astonishing that, among those cases in which a formal decision was issued, 97 percent resulted in “No Action Taken.” On average, CBP took 122 days to arrive at a decision when one was made. Moreover, among all complaints, 40 percent were still “pending investigation” when the complaint data were provided to the Immigration Council.Read more...

Published On: Sun, May 04, 2014