Immigration Benefits and Relief

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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...
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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...
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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...
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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...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
August 5, 2013
On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in United States v. Windsor, holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. This practice advisory highlights some of the issues LGBT families will face in a post-DOMA world.
May 2, 2013
In Moncrieffe, the Supreme Court held that a state drug conviction is not an aggravated felony when the statute of conviction extends to the social sharing of a small amount of marijuana. This Practice Advisory discusses the holding of the case, the decision’s potential broader implications, strategies for noncitizen criminal defendants, and steps that lawyers should take immediately in pending or already concluded removal proceedings affected by Moncrieffe.
December 21, 2012
This Practice Advisory contains practical and legal suggestions for individuals seeking to return to the United States after they have prevailed on a petition for review or an administrative motion to reopen or reconsider to the immigration court or Board of Immigration Appeals.
April 5, 2012
This Practice Advisory describes the Supreme Court's decision in Vartelas v. Holder, holding that the Fleuti doctrine still applies to lawful permanent residents (LPRs) with pre-IIRIRA convictions. This means that LPRs with convictions before April 1, 1997 who travel abroad do not, upon their return, face inadmissibility if their trip was brief, casual and innocent. The Advisory offers strategies for LPRs who are affected by the decision and discusses some of the decision's other potential favorable impacts.
December 16, 2011
This Practice Advisory describes the Supreme Court’s decision in Judulang v. Holder, which rejected the BIA's "comparable grounds" test for § 212(c) relief, and offers strategies for lawful permanent residents and others who may be affected by it.
March 31, 2010
There are two main situations where individuals who were ordered removed or deported in absentia can reopen their cases: (1) they did not receive notice of the hearing, and (2) they did not appear at their hearing because of exceptional circumstances. This Practice Advisory addresses the elements and requirements for an in absentia motion to reopen in both contexts.
December 26, 2008

This Q&A informs lawyers about some of the most important aspects of the December 18, 2008 voluntary departure rules adopted by Executive Office for Immigration Review.

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.
April 6, 2005
On April 1, 2005, EOIR’s Background and Security Check regulations went into effect. The interim rule bars IJs and the BIA from granting most forms of relief until DHS has informed them that security checks are completed. This Practice Advisory provides basic information about the requirements and procedures under the interim rule and highlights the major changes to BIA procedures.
October 19, 2004
Pursuant to the Supreme Court’s decision INS v. St. Cyr, the Department of Justice (DOJ) published its final rule on procedures for applying for section 212(c) relief. This Practice Advisory summarizes the rule and describes who can apply for § 212(c) relief under the rule. In addition, it discusses strategies and arguments to assist individuals who are barred under the rule.
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...

June 15, 2021

My name is Hali Calzadillas-Andujo and I’m originally from Chihuahua, Mexico. I first came to the United States with my mother and siblings when I was eight years old. I didn’t even know what it...

April 29, 2021

When President Biden took office, he inherited a legal immigration system that was teetering on the brink of collapse. Delays within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have reached...

March 25, 2021

By the end of the Trump presidency, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was all but destroyed. The former administration had attempted to end crucial protections for the hundreds of thousands of...

March 18, 2021

The U.S. House of Representatives passed two immigration bills on March 18, signaling that Congress might finally enact major immigration reform for the first time in over three decades. These...

March 4, 2021

Individuals hoping to become a naturalized American citizen will take a different civics test beginning this week, as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reverts back to a previous...

January 22, 2021

On his first day in office, President Biden took significant steps towards undoing the harm of the Trump administration’s immigration policies—and reforming our punitive and inhumane enforcement...

January 8, 2021

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.  The Biden administration faces a...

January 7, 2021

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.  The Biden administration will soon...

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.
January 30, 2017
The lawsuit is filed on behalf of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents who have filed visa petitions for their immediate family members who are nationals of the seven countries.
June 23, 2016

Washington D.C. - Today, the Supreme Court issued a 4-4 decision in United States v.

April 18, 2016

Washington D.C. - Today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in United States v. Texas.

July 11, 2022

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) published a new policy memorandum on July 1 that eliminated a barrier for many Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients and restored a pathway...

June 1, 2022

Thirteen U.S. lawful permanent residents filed a lawsuit to end the delay by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in processing their applications to become U.S. citizens. The...

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...

Publication Date: 
April 26, 2022
The Council and 29 other organizations submitted a comment to the Department of Education in response to a notice in the federal register detailing proposed changes to how institutions of higher...
April 25, 2022
This practice advisory identifies who falls under the classification of “arriving noncitizens,” discusses the regulations delineating USCIS vs. EOIR jurisdiction over adjustment applications of arriving noncitizens in removal proceedings and suggests strategies to facilitate the adjustment of status of eligible parolees in removal proceedings before they are removed.
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...

January 19, 2022
President Biden announced a welcoming and inclusive vision for immigration in a legislative proposal and a series of executive actions signed on his first day in office. But one year into Biden’s presidency, his promises on immigration remain unfulfilled.
January 18, 2022
This practice advisory provides a brief overview of administrative closure and explains the impact of that decision on the future availability of administrative closure, as well as on cases that are currently administratively closed.
December 23, 2021
A federal court denied preliminary relief in a lawsuit challenging USCIS's extreme delays and failure to process work permit renewals for asylum seekers. The judge declined to order USCIS to process work permit renewal applications within the 180-day automatic extension of employment authorization.

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