Asylum

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...
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.

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...

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...

February 12, 2021

The Trump administration sent over 70,000 people who came to the U.S border seeking asylum back to Mexico to wait for court hearings. This so-called “Migrant Protection Protocols” (“MPP”) program...

February 8, 2021

For more than 40 years, the law has guaranteed any person who is physically present in the United States a right to seek asylum. In 2019 the Trump administration attempted to effectively eliminate...

February 3, 2021

On February 2, 2021, following the confirmation of Alejandro Mayorkas as secretary of Homeland Security, President Biden signed three executive orders that take steps to further unwind the Trump...

January 25, 2021

January 29, 2021 marks the two-year anniversary of the Trump administration’s so-called “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP), informally known as “Remain in Mexico.” Asylum seekers and advocates...

January 14, 2021

A federal judge in California blocked a sweeping “death to asylum” rule on January 8, just three days before the rule was scheduled to take effect. The asylum rule is just one of many regulations...

January 11, 2021

Five years ago, Donald Trump descended an elevator and declared that Mexico was sending rapists and “bringing crime” across the border. Now, while America still reels from the deadly...

January 5, 2021

This article is part of the Moving Forward on Immigration series that explores the future of immigration in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.  The United States has long been a...

December 14, 2020

The Trump administration secretly implemented one of its most horrific attacks on America’s long tradition of asylum—holding asylum seekers in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody...

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.
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.
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 14, 2020
The American Immigration Council, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Human Rights Watch, and the law firm Winston & Strawn LLP filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Northern District of California today to compel the release of records about the US Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program.
March 31, 2020
A federal court in Arizona allowed five asylum-seeking mothers and their children who were torn apart under the Trump administration’s family separation policy to move forward with a lawsuit against the United States for the cruel treatment and anguish U.S. immigration agencies inflicted on them. The court denied the government’s motion to dismiss the case.
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.
June 8, 2021
The Council expressed concerns about the Biden administration's plans for a new type of expedited asylum proceedings.
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...

May 18, 2021
The Council urged the Biden administration to improve MPP wind down processing and toy move ahead with a second phase to include all individuals subjected to MPP.
May 7, 2021

The Council joined 356 other organizations, law school clinics, professors, law firms, and practitioners in urging Attorney General Merrick Garland to vacate Matter of A-B, Matter of...

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 2, 2021
The American Immigration Council joined other organizations in calling on the Biden administration to phase-out immigration detention, beginning with the closure of ten specific facilities.
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 29, 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...
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...

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