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

January 13, 2017
A coalition of immigrant and civil rights groups filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties on behalf of numerous adult men and women, families and unaccompanied children who, over the past several months, were denied entry to the United States at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border despite having asserted a fear of returning to their home countries or an intention to seek asylum under U.S. law.
This lawsuit challenged obstacles faced by asylum-seekers in satisfying the statutory requirement that they apply for asylum within one year of entering the United States.
February 23, 2016
The statement shares our analysis and research regarding the children and families that have fled Central American violence to the United States.
June 23, 2021

Asylum seekers who were ordered deported for missing their U.S. court hearings under the Trump administration’s so-called Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)—informally known as the “Remain in...

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 27, 2020
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has upheld a ruling blocking a Trump administration policy that categorically denies bond hearings to asylum seekers. The case is Padilla v. ICE.
March 5, 2020
A Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel today blocked the Trump administration’s asylum transit ban from being applied to thousands of asylum seekers who were unlawfully prevented from accessing the U.S. asylum process before the ban was implemented. The decision lifts a prior administrative stay of the district court’s preliminary injunction. That injunction prohibits the government from applying the asylum ban to those who had been illegally metered before the ban went into effect.
February 28, 2020
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program. Nearly 60,000 people seeking asylum in the United States have been returned to Mexico to wait for their U.S. court hearings under MPP.
February 19, 2020
A federal court ordered U.S. Customs and Border Protection to overhaul the way the agency detains people in its custody in the Tucson Sector. The court found that the conditions in CBP holding cells, especially those that preclude sleep over several nights, are presumptively punitive and violate the U.S. Constitution.
November 20, 2019
The Trump administration published a new rule that seeks to implement safe third country agreements that the United States entered into with Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador—and bar many individuals seeking protection in the United States from being able to apply for asylum.
November 19, 2019
A federal judge blocked the Trump administration’s asylum ban from being applied to thousands of asylum seekers who were unlawfully prevented from accessing the U.S. asylum process before the ban was implemented.
October 24, 2019
Media reports today indicate that the government has initiated a new pilot program in El Paso, Texas to rush the review of sensitive asylum cases. The reported program, called “Prompt Asylum Case Review,” forces families to navigate the asylum process while detained in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
October 2, 2019
The American Immigration Council and Tahirih Justice Center filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in federal court to compel the government to release records about the Trump administration’s troubling new practice of allowing U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers to screen individuals seeking asylum in the United States. The lawsuit seeks these documents to shed light on changes to the asylum screening process, CBP’s role in conducting interviews and making determinations regarding an asylum seeker’s “credible fear” of persecution, and the measures taken by CBP, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Department of Homeland Security to implement this new practice.
September 26, 2019
Immigrant rights attorneys moved to block the Trump administration’s Asylum Ban from affecting tens of thousands of migrants who have already attempted to access the U.S. asylum process before the ban was implemented. With limited exceptions, the Asylum Ban prohibits anyone who traveled through a third country and did not seek protection there from obtaining asylum here. The request filed today is in the ongoing case challenging the Trump administration’s policy of turning back asylum seekers at ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border, including the “metering” policy.
September 19, 2019
Five asylum-seeking mothers and their children who were torn apart under the Trump administration’s family separation policy filed a lawsuit against the United States for the cruel treatment and agony U.S. immigration agencies inflicted on them. The five parents and their children, who were as young as five at the time of the separation, claim that the U.S. government intentionally subjected them to extraordinary trauma that will have lifelong implications.
November 20, 2023

When asylum seekers come to the United States, they want to work—but an outdated immigration statute is making that more difficult than it needs to be. After filing an asylum application, asylum...

August 10, 2023

On April 8, a family came to the San Ysidro port of entry in Tijuana and asked to be let into the United States to seek asylum. The husband’s arm was bleeding. He’d been shot. The cartel that had...

July 28, 2023

On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that the Biden administration’s asylum transit ban was illegal and should be vacated. The ruling isn’t in effect yet – it was delayed for 14 days and may be...

July 21, 2023

“I never thought I’d say there’s anything worse than ICE custody, but this is it.” That’s an immigration attorney in San Diego talking to CNN about the shelter facilities run by U.S. Customs and...

Publication Date: 
July 11, 2023
This fact sheet provides an overview of the wide range of programs that provide alternatives to detention (ATDs) and run the gamut from no governmental intervention to extensive surveillance and...
June 29, 2023

The end of the COVID-19 public health emergency back in May meant an end to Title 42. That policy, grounded in an obscure public health law, was put in place by the Trump administration in March...

May 25, 2023

On May 23, members of Congress introduced what has sadly become an increasingly rare bit of legislation; a comprehensive immigration reform bill aimed at addressing large-scale systematic problems...

May 19, 2023

One of the biggest concerns after the end of the Title 42 policy of mass expulsion at the U.S.-Mexico border was that large numbers of people would cross in the hours and days afterward. When the...

May 19, 2023

If you are an asylum seeker in the United States who cannot afford an attorney, your chance of finding pro bono assistance is now slimmer than ever. As the number of cases in immigration court has...

May 11, 2023

Back in February, when the Biden administration proposed a new regulation that would essentially restrict the vast majority of border crossers from qualifying for asylum, we broke it down with a...

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