Immigration Benefits and Relief

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.

Recent Features

All Immigration Benefits and Relief Content

Publication Date: 
April 11, 2016
This guide provides brief answers to common questions about United States v. Texas, including what is at stake in the case, how the litigation began, what the contested issues are, and the impact the...
Publication Date: 
February 1, 2016
DACA has helped its beneficiaries find employment and increase their earnings. But, even with better jobs, not all DACA beneficiaries in our study were able to afford tuition at four-year...
Publication Date: 
August 26, 2014
The President has the legal authority to make a significant number of unauthorized migrants eligible for temporary relief from deportation that would be similar to the relief available under the...
Publication Date: 
June 16, 2014
This week marks the two-year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, first initiated by President Obama on June 15, 2012. This research brief presents current...
Publication Date: 
August 15, 2013

As Congress continues to debate immigration reform, August 15th marks the one-year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)...

Publication Date: 
June 19, 2013
One of the themes that emerged from the Senate Judiciary Committee mark up of the 2013 Senate immigration bill was the necessity of avoiding the mistakes of the past. In the context of legalization...
Publication Date: 
April 29, 2013
Today in the United States, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Americans who fall in love with and marry foreign nationals are being asked to choose between country and spouse, country...
Publication Date: 
October 16, 2012
There are roughly 1.8 million immigrants in the United States who might be, or might become, eligible for the Obama Administration’s “deferred action” initiative for unauthorized youth brought to...
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...
January 3, 2020

The American Immigration Lawyers Association and American Immigration Council submitted the following comments in response to the above-referenced Notice and Request for Comments on the Department...

November 12, 2019

Under current U.S. immigration law, the immigration service must make a decision on work permit applications filed by asylum seekers within 30 days of their application. The Trump administration...

July 16, 2019
The statement highlights the Council’s concerns regarding systemic U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services delays in responding to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
This nationwide class action lawsuit challenges systemic delays in providing immigration files.
December 11, 2018
The American Immigration Council, with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, filed comments because a financial litmus test should never serve as a measure for who we welcome into our country.
The American Immigration Council has filed a class action lawsuit against officials at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U.S. Department of Homeland Security in a federal district court in New York, challenging the government’s unlawful practice of depriving certain Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders with close family relationships or employment in the United States from becoming lawful permanent residents.
February 19, 2018
In the case, Attorney General Jeff Sessions referred to himself questions related to administrative closure. This move by Sessions could signal an attempt to end administrative closure altogether—which could force over 350,000 immigrants back into immigration court, exacerbating the challenges of an already overburdened immigration court system.
The Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program (CAARP) is a secret and unlawful government vetting program that targets thousands of applicants who are Muslim or from certain Muslim-majority countries for delay or denial of immigration benefits.
September 13, 2017
The statement addresses the impact of the President's decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), as well as shares our analysis and research on how immigrants play a vital role in our nation's economy.
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.
August 1, 2017
This Practice Advisory addresses some of the legal issues that may arise when noncitizens in removal proceedings seek to suppress evidence unlawfully obtained by Customs and Border Protection officers.
December 1, 2015
The immigration courts’ unprecedented backlogs are creating procedural and substantive challenges for attorneys trying to comply with the One-Year Filing Deadline (OYFD) in asylum cases. This Practice Advisory discusses strategies and procedures for complying with the OYFD.
November 18, 2015
This Practice Advisory provides updated information about Initial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) as well as the DACA Renewal process. It offers strategic advice for attorneys representing individuals who may qualify for DACA. The American Immigration Council issued this Advisory jointly with the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild.
October 22, 2015
This Practice Advisory focuses on the meaning of “admission” in four very specific, but frequently encountered situations: a “wave-through” at a port of entry; and entry based on misrepresentation; an entry based on a false claim to U.S. citizenship; and the grant of TPS as an admission for purposes of adjustment of status.
March 18, 2015
This Practice Advisory, updated following the issuance of Secretary Johnson’s November 20, 2014 memorandum on Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants, explains what prosecutorial discretion is, who has authority to exercise it, and how it is exercised most often in immigration cases. It also suggests ways that attorneys can influence the favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion by ICE, CBP and USCIS officers.
February 5, 2015
This Practice Advisory provides an overview of the CSPA, its effective date, and its interpretation and implementation by USCIS, the U.S. Department of State, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the courts.
February 5, 2014
The American Immigration Council’s Practice Advisory, Employment Authorization and Asylum: Strategies to Avoid Stopping the Asylum Clock, has been updated to reflect extensive changes to the manner in which the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) determine an asylum applicant’s eligibility for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
January 21, 2014
This Practice Advisory provides background information about requesting stays of removal from the court of appeals, discusses the legal standard for obtaining a stay, and addresses the implications of the government’s policy with respect to return of individuals who are successful on their appeal.
November 20, 2013

This Practice Advisory discusses the "departure bar" to motions to reopen and arguments adopted by circuit courts that have rejected or upheld the bar.

October 23, 2013
Section 336(b) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. § 1447(b), gives a district court jurisdiction to intervene in a case where USCIS has failed to make a decision on the naturalization application within 120 days of the applicant’s “examination” by USCIS. This Practice Advisory discusses the nuts and bolts of bringing a suit under INA § 336(b). It also discusses when attorneys fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act are available.
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...

December 17, 2020
Judge William H. Orrick granted summary judgment in favor of two nationwide classes suing DHS, USCIS, and ICE for failing to timely produce the class members’ immigration files (A-Files). The court ordered the agencies to clear their backlogs by responding to the more than 40,000 thousand cases outstanding within 60 days.
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.
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 28, 2020
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security released today a memo on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative that would deny all pending and future initial requests for DACA and reject all pending and future applications for advance parole absent exceptional circumstances. It would also shorten DACA renewals and the accompanying work authorization to one-year, rather than a two-year period.
June 18, 2020
The U.S. Supreme Court today blocked the Trump administration’s efforts to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a critical initiative that has offered deportation protection and work authorization to hundreds of thousands of young people who arrived in the United States as children.
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.
October 11, 2022

On September 28, Senator Alex Padilla (D-CA) introduced a bill in Congress that would allow millions of immigrants who have lived in the United States for many years to become Lawful Permanent...

October 7, 2022

Written by Jorge Loweree and Raul Pinto of the American Immigration Council More than a decade after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) first created the Deferred Action for Childhood...

September 13, 2022

The Biden administration is close to using all of the employment-based immigrant visas (green cards) allotted for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced...

September 9, 2022

Written by American Immigration Council staff Leani García Torres and Raul Pinto The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative provides certain young, undocumented immigrants with a...

August 30, 2022

Last week, the Biden administration published the final version of a regulation that seeks to preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative and provide a modicum of...

July 28, 2022

Democrats in the House of Representatives have introduced a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants who have lived in the United States for at least seven years to legalize their status. The...

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...

Most Read

  • Publications
  • Blog Posts
  • Past:
  • Trending