How the Immigration System Works

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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August 20, 2018

The average wait time on a U.S. citizenship application was about five months in 2014. Today, the average time a green card holder will wait for their citizenship application to be processed by U....

July 24, 2018

How long does it take to process an application for permanent residence in the United States, or a “green card?” You might be surprised by how difficult it is to find a reliable answer to this...

July 17, 2018

As thousands of asylum-seeking parents were separated from their children in recent months, the Trump administration actively portrayed them as law breakers who must be prosecuted and punished for...

July 3, 2018

Coinciding with the Fourth of July each year, naturalization ceremonies turn immigrants into new American citizens. This Independence Day, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will...

June 28, 2018

The Trump administration is quietly attempting to revamp the U.S. immigration system by circumventing Congress and changing the nation’s immigration policies through new federal regulations. The...

April 20, 2018

The United States has historically been viewed as a nation that welcomes refugees fleeing from violence and persecution in their home countries. Yet, the Trump administration recently reiterated...

March 29, 2018

Six months into fiscal year 2018, the Trump administration has admitted roughly 10,520 refugees, a number so low that it may be impossible to reach the 45,000 target set by the administration last...

March 21, 2018

Legal immigration and the number of foreigners visiting the United States has taken a serious hit within the last year, as the Trump administration makes changes to policies and procedures without...

November 9, 2017

The United States Armed Forces has long valued the contributions of immigrants—from the War of 1812 to the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, U.S.-born and immigrant soldiers have fought...

November 6, 2017

It has been well established for decades that the vast majority of immigrants are not criminals by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, immigrants who have committed no violent offense are often...

August 26, 2020

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) told Congress in May that it was running out of money and would need a $1.2 billion bailout to maintain its operations without major disruptions....

July 31, 2020

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released an advance copy of a final rule on July 31 that will impose significant fee increases across many facets of the legal immigration system...

July 31, 2020
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services—the government agency that administers the country's legal immigration system—is expected to announce Monday major fee hikes for many immigration-related applications and petitions. The increased fees will impact people applying for U.S. citizenship and asylum, as well as American businesses hiring or retaining employees vital to our country’s recovery from a global health and economic crisis.
July 30, 2020

A federal judge in New York has once again put the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule on hold, but only for the duration of the COVID-19 national emergency. This rule, which went into...

July 29, 2020

The American Immigration Council submitted a written statement to the House Committee on Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship for a July 29, 2020 hearing on "Oversight of U....

July 23, 2020

A Canadian court has ruled that the United States is no longer a country to which the Canadian government could safely return asylum seekers who crossed the U.S-Canada land border.  This upends...

July 21, 2020

The Trump administration has justified major changes to citizenship processing to “safeguard” the U.S. immigration system from application fraud. Yet the increased vetting has not lowered the...

July 13, 2020

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) expects, by the end of July, to have worked through nearly the entire backlog of naturalization oath ceremonies put on hold in response to the...

June 4, 2020

The U.S. Supreme Court found on Monday that federal courts have the authority to review certain claims from people who are seeking protection from torture. The case, Nasrallah v. Barr, is about...

May 27, 2020
The American Immigration Council's latest report examines major changes to the U.S. immigration system in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unique challenges the pandemic has created for noncitizens and government agencies.

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