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 Asylum Content

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...
January 29, 2020
This fact sheet explains the complicated interplay and application of protection and border processing policies.
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.
August 16, 2018
This report presents findings from the first empirical analysis of asylum adjudication in family detention. Drawing on government data from over 18,000 immigration court proceedings initiated between...
May 9, 2017
Detained asylum seekers encounter numerous challenges, including the following problems detailed in this report.
May 18, 2016
First-hand accounts from Central American women and their family members reveal the dangerous and bleak circumstances of life these women and their children faced upon return to their home countries...
July 22, 2015

For decades, the U.S. refugee protection system has been a symbol of the nation’s generosity and openness to the world’s persecuted. Yet since Congress’ enactment of the Illegal Immigration Reform...

May 21, 2014
This paper addresses these issues, summarizes the concerns and experiences of numerous advocates in the field, and concludes that the credible fear and asylum process poses obstacles for applicants...
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.
This Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeks to uncover information about the Migration Protection Protocols (MPP)—also known as the "Remain in Mexico" program.
May 12, 2020

The Council and the law firm WilmerHale filed a petition with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) challenging the requirement that asylum seekers...

January 31, 2020

The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association submitted an amicus brief in Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center v. Wolf, a case filed by the American...

January 23, 2020

The Trump administration has proposed amending regulations that affect asylum eligibility. If implemented, the regulations would shut America’s doors to many of those most in need of protection....

The Migrant Protection Protocols—also known as Remain in Mexico—raises alarming safety and due process questions. However, the government has kept information on how the program is being implemented.
November 21, 2019
The American Immigration Council submitted a written statement to the House Committee on Homeland Security for a November 19, 2019 hearing on the “Examining the Human Rights and Legal Implications of DHS’s ‘Remain in Mexico’ Policy.”
This lawsuit seeks to uncover information about the government’s troubling new practice of employing U.S. Custom and Border Protection officers to screen asylum seekers.
The Council is seeking monetary damages on behalf of six asylum-seeking mothers and their children for the trauma they suffered when torn apart under the Trump Administration’s family separation policy.
June 17, 2021

Attorney General Merrick Garland announced on June 16 that he is restoring a vital lifeline to survivors of gender-based violence, gang violence, and violence on account of family relationships....

June 16, 2021

Twice each year, the federal government publishes a “regulatory agenda,” a preview of all the proposals that are in the pipeline to become federal regulations. Last week, the Biden administration...

June 10, 2021

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is collecting DNA from asylum seekers at the border, recent media reports confirm. This is the latest expansion of DNA collection as part of a program initiated...

June 3, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)  and the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on May 28 the creation of a new “Dedicated Docket” in immigration court for the claims of asylum-seeking...

April 28, 2021

The current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border has once again exposed the flaws of our country’s asylum system. On April 22, Senators Kyrsten Sinema and John Cornyn and Representatives Tony...

April 8, 2021

Only days after President Biden took office, some people were already declaring that the border was in a state of crisis. But recently released U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics reveal...

April 1, 2021

A group of Republican lawmakers recently introduced a slew of anti-immigration bills in the House of Representatives and Senate. The bills primarily target people’s rights to seek asylum in the...

March 23, 2021

The current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border—including the rise in immigrant children in U.S. government custody—has captured the nation’s attention in recent weeks. Much of the conversation...

March 9, 2021

Since 2013, the government has struggled to respond to increasing numbers of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. After disastrous Trump administration policies left...

March 2, 2021

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced last week that it would make changes to two family detention centers in Texas that would result in families spending less time in detention...

March 23, 2021
The nation has turned its attention to the current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, including the rise in immigrant children in U.S. government custody. Much of the conversation has focused on a supposed surge in arrivals under the Biden administration, but the current increase began well before President Biden took office.
March 1, 2021
A new publication provides a snapshot of the extent of available services that help migrants navigate the complexities of the U.S. immigration system.
January 27, 2021
Newly released government records reveal U.S. immigration agencies' efforts in 2019 to rapidly deport thousands of people from the United States through the little-known Electronic Nationality Verification program.
January 19, 2021
A federal court blocked nearly all of a Trump administration rule that would have drastically increased fees in immigration proceedings in which the government seeks to deport immigrants, many of whom are long-term residents of this country.
January 18, 2021
A federal court issued a temporary restraining order blocking the Trump administration’s latest attempt to prevent asylum seekers from accessing the U.S. asylum process.
January 7, 2021
Immigrant rights advocates moved for a temporary restraining order to block the Trump administration’s latest attempt to circumvent an earlier court order prohibiting the government from applying an asylum ban to people whom U.S. Customs and Border Protection had previously turned away from ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border.
December 10, 2020
The American Immigration Lawyers Association and the American Immigration Council urge the Biden administration to prioritize undoing of new rule that spells death for the asylum system
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 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.
October 15, 2021
The United States has long guaranteed the right to seek asylum to individuals who arrive at our southern border and ask for protection. But since March 20, 2020, that fundamental right has been...
October 14, 2021
The American Immigration Council and 29+ organizations urged DHS—in a letter offering factual and legal recommendations on how to end the Migrant Protection Protocols—to fully and forcefully acknowledge the humanitarian and legal catastrophe caused by MPP.
October 14, 2021
The Council and 30 other organizations sent a letter to DHS offering an assessment of the factual and legal bases for terminating the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program.
October 11, 2021
The American Immigration Council joins a coalition letter that calls on the Biden administration to terminate local detention contracts and halt all other efforts to expand the ICE detention system...
October 8, 2021

In September, nearly 15,000 Haitians arrived near Del Rio, Texas seeking asylum in the United States. But rather than allowing them to seek protection, as is their right under United States law,...

October 6, 2021
Under the “Migrant Protection Protocols”, individuals who arrive at the southern border and ask for asylum (either at a port of entry or after crossing the border between ports of entry) are given...
October 5, 2021
The Council and AILA, through their Immigration Justice Campaign followed up on their March 25, 2021 letter to the DHS and ICE with examples of unfair denials of requests for release at ICE...
September 22, 2021

The Departments of State and Homeland Security announced recently that they will be accepting new applications for the Central American Minors (CAM) Program, created to process immigrant children...

September 22, 2021

The American Immigration Council joined 38 other civil rights organizations in urging President Biden to live up to his administration’s commitment to a...

September 21, 2021

Roughly 14,000 Haitians arrived at the border across from Del Rio, Texas in mid-September and walked across the Rio Grande to seek asylum. Many first left Haiti in 2010 following a devastating...

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