Humanitarian Protection

The immigration laws and regulations provide some avenues to apply for lawful status from within the U.S. or to seek relief from deportation.  The eligibility requirements for these benefits and relief can be stringent, and the immigration agencies often adopt overly restrictive interpretations of the requirements.  Learn about advocacy and litigation that has been and can be undertaken to ensure that noncitizens have a fair chance to apply for the benefits and relief for which they are eligible.  

Recent Features

All Humanitarian Protection Content

October 6, 2020
This fact sheet provides an overview of withholding of removal, including the basics of seeking protection in the United States, eligibility requirements, the application process, and data on...
September 30, 2020
This report identifies disruptions throughout the immigration system because of the COVID-19 pandemic and makes recommendations for improvements to the federal government’s response.
June 11, 2020
Asylum seekers must navigate a difficult and complex process that can involve multiple government agencies. This fact sheet provides an overview of the asylum system in the United States, including...
February 2, 2020
This fact sheet provides an overview of how Temporary Protected Status designations are made, what benefits TPS confers, and how TPS beneficiaries apply for and regularly renew their status.
January 29, 2020
This fact sheet explains the complicated interplay and application of protection and border processing policies.
January 10, 2020
Over the last two decades, the federal government increasingly has utilized the criminal courts to punish people for immigration violations. This overview provides basic information about entry-...
January 8, 2020
The United States has long been a global leader in the resettlement of refugees—and the need for such leadership remains enormous.
November 23, 2019
This fact sheet provides basic information about three of these forms of protection: “U” visas for victims of crime, “T” visas for victims of severe forms of trafficking, and “self-petitions” under...
July 22, 2019
Expedited removal is a process by which low-level immigration officers can quickly deport certain noncitizens who are undocumented or have committed fraud or misrepresentation.
January 9, 2019
This fact sheet estimates the likely numbers of workers with TPS from these three countries, broken down by the states in which they reside and the industries in which they are employed.
November 12, 2020
The amicus brief in Pham v. Guzman Chavez urges the Supreme Court to find that the pre-final order detention statute applies to detained noncitizens with prior removal orders who have meritorious claims for a form of humanitarian protection known as withholding of removal.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection may have mistreated migrant children when implementing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention interim final rule that suspends people from entering the United States due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
October 22, 2020
The brief argues that DHS’ service practices for MPP tear sheets deny respondents their statutory right to notice of the time and place of their removal proceedings, their statutory right to a full and fair hearing, and, consequently, due process of law.
This Freedom of Information Act request seeks to uncover Customs and Border Protection’s actions and further expose its militarized response to the provision of humanitarian aid.
October 13, 2020
The American Immigration Council, the Immigration Defense Clinic at Colorado Law, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, submitted a comment in opposition to the Department of Homeland Security proposed rule on the "Collection and Use of Biometrics by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services."
August 5, 2020

The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association submitted a comment opposing the regulation "Security Bars and Processing." 

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July 29, 2020

The American Immigration Council submitted a written statement to the House Committee on Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship for a July 29, 2020 hearing on "Oversight of U....

July 21, 2020

The American Immigration Council signed on to a letter calling on Congress to demand greater transparency from Immigration and Customs Enforcement regarding Cameroonian and other Black...

July 17, 2020

The American Immigration Council joined a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security calling on the release of all families held at all three Immigration and Customs...

July 15, 2020
The American Immigration Council submitted these comments opposing bars to asylum proposed by the Trump administration.
November 2, 2020
This Practice Advisory addresses USCIS’ reversal of its longstanding policy of treating authorized travel by Temporary Protected Status holders as “parole” for adjustment or status.
July 3, 2019
Immigration courts must continue to provide bond hearings to individuals fleeing persecution who enter the United States without inspection, are placed in expedited removal proceedings, and pass their credible fear interviews.
December 20, 2017
This practice advisory describes USCIS’ position and offers practical suggestions for filing asylum applications that USCIS is likely to reject for lack of jurisdiction.
September 11, 2017
This practice advisory addresses the TPS recipients who are most likely to benefit from Ramirez and Flores; other general categories of family and employment-based adjustment applicants who benefit from these two decisions; and options that may be available to TPS recipients who do not live within these two circuits.
September 5, 2017
This Practice Advisory is designed to assist attorneys in determining whether individuals seeking Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals might be eligible for immigration benefits.
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.
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, 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).
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.
November 19, 2020

For years, the Trump administration has argued that limited capacity at ports of entry led to its policy of turning back asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border (the “turnback policy”). But a...

November 10, 2020

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit ruled that certain people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) can apply for green cards without leaving the United States. In Velazquez v. Barr, the...

October 29, 2020

Over 60,000 people at the southern border have been forced to return to Mexico under the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program. As...

October 15, 2020

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) launched another military-style raid on a humanitarian aid station in the Arizona desert, close to the U.S.-Mexico border. On October 5, Border Patrol...

October 13, 2020

At a time when tensions over race in the United States are high, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced in an October 8 memo that it will cancel all diversity and inclusion trainings for...

September 29, 2020

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has implemented a new temporary rule preventing affirmative asylum seekers—who request asylum while already physically present in the United...

September 24, 2020

The Trump administration has spent most of the year trying to destroy asylum law—and the blows keep coming. On Sept. 23, the Department of Justice proposed yet another regulation aimed at certain...

September 14, 2020

In a split decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Trump administration’s termination of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for four countries can proceed. The fate of nearly 250...

September 1, 2020

A federal court on Monday halted a secretive program started under the Trump administration that allowed Border Patrol agents to be harsh gatekeepers to the asylum process. The court rejected the...

August 20, 2020

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) top two officials are under scrutiny once again after a congressional oversight office found they were unlawfully appointed to their positions. The...

November 12, 2020
The American Immigration Council, other immigrant rights organizations, and legal service providers filed a friend-of-the-court (or amicus) brief with the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief urges the justices to find that immigrants who seek humanitarian protection from removal should have access to bond hearings—instead of being subjected to mandatory detention.
November 7, 2020
Joseph R. Biden has been elected to serve as the 46th president of the United States. In the months ahead, we look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration to advance a pro-immigration agenda that respects the dignity of all people.
October 30, 2020
Children and immigration advocacy groups filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of Illinois against CBP requesting information about the agency’s implementation of the CDC rule suspending people from entering the United States due to the COVID 19 pandemic and its specific impact on unaccompanied migrant children fleeing harm and seeking protection in the United States.
September 14, 2020
A federal court has ruled that the Trump administration’s termination of Temporary Protected Status for more than 300,000 people living in the United States can continue.
September 8, 2020
Asylum seekers who have been turned back by U.S. Customs and Border Protection from ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border asked a federal court to permanently stop the Trump administration’s Turnback Policy and declare it unlawful.
August 26, 2020
Individuals in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody at the Otero County Processing Center filed a motion for preliminary injunction to stop ICE from denying detained individuals the ability to contact their lawyers and the outside world by phone.
August 6, 2020
A federal judge has granted class certification in Al Otro Lado v. Wolf, a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s policy of turning back asylum seekers at ports of entry. The ruling provides that the challenge to the Turnback Policy will continue on behalf of all asylum seekers along the U.S.-Mexico border who were or will be prevented from accessing the asylum process at ports of entry as a result of the government’s Turnback Policy.
July 8, 2020
The Trump Administration announced a soon-to-be-published proposed rule that would allow the Department of Homeland Security to ban people from seeking asylum in the United States solely because they traveled from or through a country under threat by a serious disease. For the first time, the Trump administration would also ban “withholding of removal,” a related form of protection that the Department of Justice has previously agreed in court it cannot eliminate without violating international law.
July 2, 2020
A federal court has ruled that the failure of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to consider less restrictive settings before transferring unaccompanied immigrant youth to ICE detention on their 18th birthdays violates U.S. immigration laws.
June 11, 2020
The Trump administration proposed a regulation that would eviscerate the United States asylum system. The proposed regulation would make it nearly impossible for most applicants to successfully claim humanitarian protection in the United States.
November 19, 2020

For years, the Trump administration has argued that limited capacity at ports of entry led to its policy of turning back asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border (the “turnback policy”). But a...

November 12, 2020
The amicus brief in Pham v. Guzman Chavez urges the Supreme Court to find that the pre-final order detention statute applies to detained noncitizens with prior removal orders who have meritorious claims for a form of humanitarian protection known as withholding of removal.
November 12, 2020
The American Immigration Council, other immigrant rights organizations, and legal service providers filed a friend-of-the-court (or amicus) brief with the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief urges the justices to find that immigrants who seek humanitarian protection from removal should have access to bond hearings—instead of being subjected to mandatory detention.
November 10, 2020

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit ruled that certain people with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) can apply for green cards without leaving the United States. In Velazquez v. Barr, the...

November 7, 2020
Joseph R. Biden has been elected to serve as the 46th president of the United States. In the months ahead, we look forward to working with the Biden-Harris administration to advance a pro-immigration agenda that respects the dignity of all people.
November 2, 2020
This Practice Advisory addresses USCIS’ reversal of its longstanding policy of treating authorized travel by Temporary Protected Status holders as “parole” for adjustment or status.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection may have mistreated migrant children when implementing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention interim final rule that suspends people from entering the United States due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
October 30, 2020
Children and immigration advocacy groups filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of Illinois against CBP requesting information about the agency’s implementation of the CDC rule suspending people from entering the United States due to the COVID 19 pandemic and its specific impact on unaccompanied migrant children fleeing harm and seeking protection in the United States.
October 29, 2020

Over 60,000 people at the southern border have been forced to return to Mexico under the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program. As...

October 22, 2020
The brief argues that DHS’ service practices for MPP tear sheets deny respondents their statutory right to notice of the time and place of their removal proceedings, their statutory right to a full and fair hearing, and, consequently, due process of law.

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