How the Immigration System Works

The U.S. immigration system is complex and can be difficult to understand. These resources provide key data points, historical information, and background on hot topics in immigration. Learn the basics about immigration.

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April 25, 2019

The White House issued a memo on Monday directing the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to provide recommendations to reduce visa overstays. The recommendations, which are expected within...

March 27, 2019

When the U.S. government orders that an immigrant in its custody must be deported, the person isn’t supposed to remain incarcerated for long. Yet the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) often...

March 15, 2019

Many of the country’s top immigration agencies operate in secret. This lack of transparency in how immigration laws are implemented, administered, and enforced has the potential to devastate the...

February 6, 2019

Speaking before Congress and the nation Tuesday evening, President Trump once again promised bipartisanship and instead delivered division. When it came to immigration, the president neither...

February 4, 2019

The Trump administration has slowed the processing of immigration benefit applications to a crawl, causing needless harm to immigrants, their families, and their employers. Under President Trump,...

January 23, 2019

New estimates of the undocumented population in the United States confirm a trend that has been apparent for several years: the number of people who become undocumented each year by overstaying...

December 11, 2018

On Monday night, the 60–day comment period for the Trump administration’s proposed public charge regulation drew to a close. More than 210,000 comments were submitted, with the majority of...

December 3, 2018

Following Jeff Sessions’ resignation as Attorney General, President Trump named Matthew Whitaker to replace him—a move that has already inspired multiple lawsuits that contend the designation was...

November 15, 2018

The Trump administration’s move to deport more people from the United States has come into sharp focus again as it targets some of the most vulnerable immigrants with its Notice to Appear (NTA)...

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...

May 18, 2021

President Biden revoked a proclamation issued by former President Trump in 2019 that required nearly all prospective immigrants to demonstrate that they would be covered by private health...

March 15, 2021

The Biden administration must improve transparency in the U.S. immigration system. Such efforts go hand in hand with strengthening democratic institutions. Under the Freedom of Information Act (...

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February 12, 2021
The Council submitted this declaration in support of the ACLU's defense of the Biden Administration's moratorium on deportations. This declaration explains how the removal and detention system works.
January 21, 2021

During his campaign, President Biden promised that immigration reform would be one of his top priorities upon taking office. After unveiling the summary of a sweeping immigration reform bill on...

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January 15, 2021
The Biden administration should take steps immediately upon entering office to expand federally funded legal representation programs for people facing removal. Here's why.
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December 21, 2020
The Proposed Rule would drastically expand the use of unproven facial recognition technology at ports of entry throughout the United States.
December 2, 2020

As the Biden-Harris administration prepares to take office, many anxiously await what immigration policies the Trump administration will finalize in the lead up to Inauguration Day in the form of...

November 17, 2020

Lawful permanent residents seeking to become U.S. citizens will now be required to take a more difficult and longer citizenship test. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced...

November 12, 2020

This article is part of the Moving Forward on Immigration series that explores the future of immigration in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.  President-elect Joe Biden’s plan on...

October 22, 2020
The proposal would negatively impact American colleges and universities and foreign students seeking a higher education degree in the United States and have long-term effects for the legal immigration system.

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