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.

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All Asylum Content

February 1, 2005
The efficiency of the asylum program depends in large part on a fully staffed and adequately funded Asylum Corps that evaluates asylum claims thoroughly and expeditiously.
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.

The American Immigration Council filed Freedom of Information Act requests with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of State (DOS) seeking information regarding the...

September 4, 2019
The administrative complaint filed with government oversight agencies highlights a systematic failure to provide adequate medical care to children in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody. This violates CBP’s own internal guidance and extensive medical guidelines.
August 16, 2019

The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association submitted a comment explaining how the interim final rule on Asylum...

April 3, 2019

This complaint highlights systemic due process violations that are undermining justice for detained immigrants called before judges at the El Paso Service Processing Center (SPC) Immigration Court...

February 28, 2019
Numerous babies under the age of one—and some as young as six months old—are being detained in immigration detention at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas.
January 7, 2019

The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) submitted a joint comment opposing the “Interim Final Rule: Aliens Subject to a Bar on Entry Under...

December 3, 2018
In Matter of Negusie, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions referred to himself the question of whether coercion and duress are relevant to the application of the immigration statute’s persecutor bar for individuals seeking asylum or withholding of removal
May 19, 2020

When the Trump administration implemented mass family separation in 2018, the American public was outraged. Two years later, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is using a different...

May 6, 2020

The Trump administration has used the coronavirus pandemic to justify shutting down the southern border—and much of our asylum system along with it. But long before the pandemic, the...

March 23, 2020

The Trump administration detailed its plans to begin rapidly deporting to Mexico people encountered at or near the southern border—without any due process—as the coronavirus continues to spread...

March 18, 2020

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has historically conducted immigration enforcement along our borders. In this role, the agency has developed a reputation for overuse and abuse of its...

March 11, 2020

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revealed new information this week about two asylum programs  at the U.S.-Mexico border. These programs are under scrutiny because they make it almost...

March 3, 2020

The Trump administration suffered another blow on Sunday, when a federal judge in Washington D.C. ruled that Ken Cuccinelli was unlawfully appointed to the role of acting director of U.S....

February 4, 2020

In U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody, asylum seekers are detained in horribly cold and overcrowded facilities, unable to sleep, without access to food, water, or adequate medical...

January 28, 2020

One year ago today, a confused Honduran man seeking asylum in the United States became the first person to be turned away from the border and sent back to Mexico to await a U.S. court hearing. He...

January 17, 2020

Asylum seekers subject to the Migrant Protection Protocols—or the “Remain in Mexico” program—in Laredo and Brownsville, Texas attend their court hearings in tents known as “port courts.” The...

January 13, 2020

People who come to the United States in search of protection must be allowed to work during the often-lengthy asylum application process. They need to be able to support themselves and their...

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.
July 30, 2019
A federal district court has rejected the government’s second attempt to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's unlawful turnbacks of asylum seekers who present themselves at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border – including its attempt to choke off asylum applications through a so-called “metering” process.
July 22, 2019
A federal appeals court ruled that asylum seekers must continue to receive bond hearings while the court considers the Trump administration’s appeal to deny bond hearings with procedural protections to asylum seekers.
July 15, 2019
The Trump administration announced a new rule that would bar many individuals seeking protection in the United States from being able to apply for asylum. The American Immigration Council believes we should not be afraid to embrace our humanitarian obligations in a way that respects the rule of law.
July 2, 2019
A federal court has blocked a Trump administration policy that categorically denies bond hearings to asylum-seekers. The policy, announced April 16 by Attorney General William Barr, targeted asylum-seekers whom immigration officers previously determined have a “credible fear” of persecution or torture if returned to the places they fled. The American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and American Civil Liberties Union challenged the policy with the lawsuit Padilla v. ICE.
July 9, 2020

Even as President Trump downplays the threat of COVID-19, the Trump administration is using the pandemic as a pretext to bar more people from asylum in the United States. While the proposal is...

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 1, 2020

On June 30, a federal judge in the District of Columbia struck down the Trump administration’s asylum transit ban, ending a sweeping policy that had shut down asylum for most people entering the...

June 24, 2020

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will finalize a new regulation on June 26 which will strip most asylum seekers of the right to seek work authorization. The rule imposes sweeping new...

June 11, 2020

In sweeping new proposed regulations announced on June 11, the Trump administration took the first step toward administering a final blow to the U.S. asylum system. The proposed rules, which...

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.
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...
May 27, 2020

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government has implemented sweeping revisions to U.S. immigration policy. Many of the changes fail to prioritize the health of immigrants or...

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.
May 27, 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.

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