Immigration Benefits and Relief

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.

Recent Features

All Immigration Benefits and Relief Content

Publication Date: 
August 17, 2012
Here's what you need to know about the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) initiative, including eligibility requirements and important information on process and timing.
Publication Date: 
June 22, 2012
There are an estimated 1.4 million children and young adults in the United States who might benefit from President Obama’s...
Publication Date: 
May 14, 2012
How Gaps in ICE's Prosecutorial Discretion Policy Affect Immigrants Without Legal Representation While the Obama administration’s has expanded use of prosecutorial discretion in immigration cases,...
Publication Date: 
April 11, 2012
Discretion takes many forms throughout the immigration enforcement process. Every removal of a noncitizen from the United States, for example, reflects a series of complex choices which reflect...
Publication Date: 
July 20, 2011
On June 17, 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton issued two significant memoranda on the use of prosecutorial discretion in immigration matters. Prosecutorial...
Publication Date: 
December 2, 2010
Each year, tens of thousands of undocumented immigrant students graduate from American high schools and embark on uncertain futures. Their inability to legally work and receive financial aid stalls...
Publication Date: 
December 1, 2010
On June 30, 2010, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), John Morton, issued a memo to the agency that reflected the Obama administration’s oft repeated intent...
Publication Date: 
March 31, 2017
The Council, with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, filed this amicus brief arguing that a grant of TPS satisfies the “admission” requirement for adjustment of status under INA § 245(a) and that, as a result, an individual who entered without inspection and later received a grant of TPS has been “admitted” and may adjust to lawful permanent resident status if otherwise eligible.
Publication Date: 
October 19, 2016
The Council, along with amici the University of Houston Law Center, AILA, and others, submitted a brief in response to a request from the Board of Immigration Appeals, arguing that lawful permanent residents who were initially admitted to the United States after being waved through a port of entry were eligible for cancellation of removal on the grounds that they had been “admitted in any status,” a requirement of the cancellation statute.
Publication Date: 
March 7, 2016
The American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the National Immigration Law Center, the Service Employees International Union, the Advancement Project, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, filed an amicus brief on behalf of 320 other immigrants’ rights, civil rights, labor and social service organizations, urging the Supreme Court to lift the injunction that blocked the deferred action initiatives that President Obama announced in November 2014. In the brief, the groups outline how families and communities would benefit from the initiatives. The brief also provides examples of parents and individuals who would be able to contribute more fully to their communities if the immigration initiatives were allowed to take effect. The oral argument is scheduled for April 18, 2016.
Publication Date: 
November 4, 2015
INA § 203(h)(3) provides alternate benefits - specifically, retention of the original priority date and automatic conversion of the petition - for beneficiaries who are found to have "aged out" under the age preservation formula of the CSPA. The Council opposed the BIA’s restrictive interpretation of this provision in In amicus curiae briefs filed with several Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court, arguing that it should be found to apply to a larger universe of aged-out children. Ultimately, the Supreme Court upheld the BIA’s interpretation.
Publication Date: 
April 6, 2015
The American Immigration Council and its partners, the National Immigration Law Center and the Service Employees International Union, filed an amicus brief arguing that the Texas federal district court order blocking expanded DACA and DAPA should be reversed. The brief, filed on behalf of more than 150 civil rights, labor, and immigration advocacy groups, argues that these deferred action initiatives will have significant and widespread benefits on the U.S. economy, individual immigrants, their families, and their communities. The brief also includes examples of the government’s exercise of its discretion to deny requests under the initial DACA program to refute the district court’s conclusion that such cases are not adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.
March 17, 2015
The statement shares our analysis and research regarding the legal and historical authority for the President's recent deferred action programs, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), details the significant economic benefits of the deferred actions programs, and explains significant social benefits of the programs.
Publication Date: 
December 29, 2014
The American Immigration Council and its partners, the National Immigration Law Center and the Service Employees International Union, in collaboration with other immigration, civil rights and labor groups, joined the legal effort to defend the deferred action initiatives President Obama announced on November 20, 2014. The amicus brief, which was written in support of the federal government, provides powerful economic, fiscal and societal reasons to permit the implementation of these programs.
Publication Date: 
August 18, 2014
A waiver of removal under INA § 212(h) is not available to an individual who committed an aggravated felony within five years of having previously been "admitted" to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. The Council, with AILA, filed amicus briefs in numerous Courts of Appeals, successfully arguing that the § 212(h) bar to waiver eligibility applies only to noncitizens who were admitted in LPR status at a port of entry, as distinct from those who adjusted to LPR status post-entry.
Duran Gonzalez is a Ninth Circuit-wide class action challenging DHS’ refusal to follow Perez-Gonzalez v. Ashcroft, 379 F.3d 783 (9th Cir. 2004). In Perez-Gonzalez, the Ninth Circuit had said that individuals who had been removed or deported could apply for adjustment of status (under INA § 245(i)) along with an accompanying I-212 waiver application. In Duran Gonzales v. DHS, 508 F.3d 1227 (9th Cir. 2007), the Ninth Circuit overturned Perez-Gonzalez, deferring to the BIA’s holding that individuals who have previously been removed or deported are not eligible to apply for adjustment of status. See Matter of Torres-Garcia, 23 I&N Dec. 866 (BIA 2006). The Court subsequently said, however, that some plaintiffs may be able to establish that the new rule should not apply retroactively.
February 3, 2014
The statement shares our analysis and research regarding the economic and other benefits of the deferred action programs, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA).
Publication Date: 
April 20, 2005
This Practice Advisory addresses situations in which a court might excuse a late-filed petition for review and discusses other administrative and federal court options for remedying the failure to timely file a petition for review. The Advisory also provides an overview of 28 U.S.C. § 1631, which authorizes courts to transfer a case to cure a lack of jurisdiction when an action is filed in the wrong federal court.
May 17, 2022

The Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision on May 16 rejecting federal court review of fact-finding done by immigration courts. The Court’s reasoning could have wide-ranging impacts on many more...

March 18, 2022

The government made two important announcements on March 7th affecting immigrant children who have been abused, abandoned, and neglected. The first is a new policy that offers work permits and...

January 28, 2022

Thousands of applicants for U.S. citizenship have been waiting for well over a year for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process their applications. But the problem isn’t the...

December 7, 2021

The Supreme Court heard oral argument on Monday in a case that raises a critical question of whether a federal court can review a noncitizen’s eligibility for certain types of discretionary...

December 1, 2021

A lesser-known group of young people who grew up in the United States with immigration status—typically the children of noncitizens who entered the U.S. on temporary work visas—is increasingly at...

November 12, 2021

U.S. workers are losing their jobs due to bureaucratic delays at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), despite an economy desperate for workers. Asylum seekers wanting to renew their...

November 5, 2021

Annual limits on immigrant visa numbers, combined with processing delays and wasted numbers, mean even longer waits for people to become U.S. permanent residents. In November, the “cut off” date...

September 27, 2021

The Biden administration followed through on its Day One promise to create a new regulation to “preserve and fortify” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative (DACA) on September 27....

July 19, 2021

Nearly a decade after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program to provide protections to undocumented immigrants brought here as...

July 16, 2021

Attorney General Merrick Garland vacated Matter of Castro-Tum on July 15, reviving a key tool to help judges prioritize cases in the overburdened immigration court system and allow people facing...

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.
April 16, 2020
The American Immigration Council, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the law firms Van Der Hout, LLP, Joseph & Hall P.C., and Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC filed a nationwide class action lawsuit today challenging U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ pattern and practice of arbitrarily denying H-1B nonimmigrant employment-based petitions for market research analysts positions filed by businesses in the United States.
October 15, 2019
A federal court in San Francisco certified two nationwide classes of immigrants and attorneys claiming that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have a systemic pattern and practice of failing to provide access to immigration case records within deadlines set by the Freedom of Information Act. The case records, known as A-files, contain information about individuals’ immigration history in the United States. This is the first time a court has certified a class in a lawsuit alleging a pattern and practice of violating FOIA
July 1, 2019
A report on interior immigration enforcement by the American Immigration Council examines newly disclosed government data on the Trump administration’s aggressive enforcement agenda. The report, “Changing Patterns of Interior Immigration Enforcement in the United States, 2016–2018,” reveals that U.S. citizens and immigrant women have become increasingly vulnerable to immigration enforcement actions under the administration.
February 28, 2019
The Trump administration’s immigration enforcement policies have increased immigrants’ vulnerability to swift deportation, making the ability to access safeguard more important than ever. The American Immigration Council and the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law filed a lawsuit to disclose critical information about how the Board of Immigration Appeals interprets legal safeguards that would allow these individuals to seek reopening or reconsidering of their immigration cases, and prevent the irreparable harms that can result from deportation.
August 2, 2018
A judge ordered last week that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must adjudicate work authorization applications for asylum seekers within the prescribed 30-day deadline.
February 22, 2018
In violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act, USCIS denies the green card applications of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders who first entered the United States without going through an inspection process at a port of entry, ignoring the fact that they subsequently were inspected and admitted when they were granted TPS.
February 21, 2018
The American Immigration Council, joined by several other immigration groups, submitted an amicus brief that argues that due process requires an impartial adjudicator and that Sessions’ anti-immigrant statements and actions prevent him from acting as one. The brief lays out Sessions’ decades-long public record of anti-immigrant statements, including specific statements evidencing prejudgment of issues in the case, and urges Sessions to either vacate the referral order or recuse himself from the case.
October 8, 2017
The White House released its long anticipated, "Immigration Principles and Policies," which lay out many of the already-stated aspirations of the Trump administration on immigration. The laundry list represents a wholesale attack on immigration and immigrants. It includes not only limits on immigration generally, but enables mass deportations and envisions bypassing necessary procedures that protect children and asylum seekers.
July 19, 2017
U.S. District Court Judge James Robert granted a motion to certify a nationwide class in Northwest Immigrant Rights Project v. USCIS, recognizing that USCIS must adjudicate asylum seekers’ employment authorization applications within 30 days if they are submitted in a timely manner.
September 29, 2023

On September 20, 2023, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced measures to accelerate the processing of some work permits and to extend their validity period for particular categories...

September 5, 2023

On August 24, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a new update to its policy manual clarifying a previous policy change aimed at expanding green card eligibility...

June 29, 2023

Written by Andrea Ramos, Digital Communications Specialist at the American Immigration Council My first Fourth of July was in the Texas country. Fireworks, lawn games, little American flags,...

April 27, 2023

The Departments of State and Homeland Security announced recently that the Central American Minors (CAM) Program is being expanded, which will allow more children from El Salvador, Honduras, and...

April 5, 2023

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is opening a new service center to try to fix some of its most egregious backlogs. The agency reportedly has already reassigned 150 employees –...

March 10, 2023

Undocumented students, like millions of other students in the United States, have the ambition to succeed. College opportunities are often priceless for these students. And though a degree can...

February 23, 2023

A recent policy change by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) should reduce the number of children who age out of green card eligibility. For immigration purposes, a “child” means...

January 26, 2023

Many families in the United States live in a frightening limbo when processing delays prevent one family member from becoming a lawful permanent resident.  A lawsuit was recently filed against U.S...

January 17, 2023

On January 3, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) finally published a new proposed fee schedule for immigration benefits—which is to say, it took an important step to becoming a...

November 1, 2022

While it seems like all eyes are on the states that could determine the outcome of this year’s midterm elections, it’s important to remember that the consequences of November 8 will extend beyond...

Most Read

  • Publications
  • Blog Posts
  • Past:
  • Trending