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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September 14, 2017

Following through on a directive from President Trump made during his first week in office, the State Department on Monday invoked a rarely-used law to impose visa restrictions on Cambodia,...

August 9, 2017

An immigration judge ordered the immediate release of a three-year-old immigrant child and his mother from a detention center in rural Pennsylvania on Monday, stating that it was one of the most...

August 7, 2017

The recent deaths of ten migrants who suffocated in the back of a tractor trailer as they were allegedly being smuggled into the United States has brought renewed attention to the grave risks...

July 28, 2017

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued a unanimous decision on Monday holding that Massachusetts court officers may not arrest and detain immigrants based solely on a detainer. Although...

July 12, 2017

Men, women, and children fleeing persecution, grave violence, and even death arrive daily at Ports of Entry (POE) all along the U.S.-Mexico border and present themselves to U.S. Customs and Border...

July 10, 2017

A recent story from ProPublica has revealed an internal February 2017 memorandum authored by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to its employees about the implementation of recent Executive...

June 27, 2017

Over the past two decades, much of the immigration policy debate has focused on issues related to immigration enforcement. In fact, many argue that “enforcement first”—the notion that we must...

June 12, 2017

After debate rocked the Texas State Capitol, Governor Greg Abbott signed the controversial Senate Bill 4 (SB4) in May, which purports to ban sanctuary city policies and gives local police the...

May 30, 2017

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials unveiled their newest “overstay” estimates—the number of people from other countries who remain in the United States after their visas expire—at a...

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...

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 31, 2018

On Monday night, President Trump told reporters that he intended to end birthright citizenship and claimed that he could do so with an executive order. Birthright citizenship comes from the...

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.
September 24, 2018

Over the weekend, the Trump administration took steps to radically transform a little-known provision of immigration law that could have an outsized impact on legal immigration. In proposed...

September 17, 2018

Each year on September 17, America marks Citizenship Day, an annual opportunity to reflect on the benefits and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship. In years past, it was used as a day to...

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 18, 2018
This fact sheet provides an overview of how USCIS calculates processing times and the concerns over the accuracy of these estimates.
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...

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