How the Immigration System Works

The immigration laws and regulations provide some avenues to apply for lawful status from within the U.S. or to seek relief from deportation.  The eligibility requirements for these benefits and relief can be stringent, and the immigration agencies often adopt overly restrictive interpretations of the requirements.  Learn about advocacy and litigation that has been and can be undertaken to ensure that noncitizens have a fair chance to apply for the benefits and relief for which they are eligible.  

Recent Features

All How the Immigration System Works Content

Publication Date: 
March 21, 2017
This fact sheet explains detainers, how they are used by federal and local enforcement, and the impact they have on immigrants.
January 6, 2017

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that beginning on January 4, 2017, it has changed how it posts processing times. Rather that listing weeks or months, it now...

September 7, 2016

When people think about immigration reform, they usually think about legalization, enforcement, and updating the legal immigration system. However, there are other upgrades to the immigration...

May 11, 2016

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) is primarily a fee-funded agency within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Every two years they are required to review the fees they...

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.
December 14, 2015

As we move through the 2016 presidential election cycle, the issue of immigration will continue to be a central topic of the debate. The United States is at a tipping point after more than two...

Publication Date: 
December 14, 2015

Americans pride themselves on belonging to a nation of immigrants. In fact, many Americans celebrate not only the traditions of the United States, but the traditions of the countries from which...

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.

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