History of Immigration

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 History of Immigration Content

March 7, 2018
Enforcement of U.S. immigration laws has historically been guided by policies that emphasize prioritization. However, this practice has largely been abandoned since the inauguration of President...
August 10, 2016
Many people assume that their family immigrated to the United States legally, or did it “the right way.” In most cases, this statement does not reflect the fact that the U.S. immigration system was...
November 25, 2015
This report provides background on the refugee experience in the United States, including welcoming and exclusionary responses, the impacts of these disparate reactions, and lessons to consider in...
June 19, 2013
One of the themes that emerged from the Senate Judiciary Committee mark up of the 2013 Senate immigration bill was the necessity of avoiding the mistakes of the past. In the context of legalization...
April 29, 2013
Today in the United States, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Americans who fall in love with and marry foreign nationals are being asked to choose between country and spouse, country...
January 31, 2013
While there are many facets to an intelligent immigration reform package, one thing is clear: legalization for undocumented immigrants helps all of us. Most economists recognize that legalization...
January 13, 2012
The United States and the colonial society that preceded it were created by successive waves of immigration from all corners of the globe. But public and political attitudes towards immigrants have...
September 13, 2010
It’s hardly news that the complaints of our latter-day nativists and immigration restrictionists—from Sam Huntington to Rush Limbaugh, from FAIR to V-DARE—resonate with the nativist arguments of some...
June 4, 2010
The capacity of these groups to stymie attempts to reform our broken immigration system should not be underestimated.
October 21, 2019

The ideology of President Trump is about more than limiting how many immigrants enter the United States each year; it’s about turning back the clock on U.S. social history. A recent analysis by...

August 23, 2019

Short-term thinking is inferior to long-term thinking, some argue, because it does a disservice to the future and those who will live it.  Two long-term thinkers who have profoundly impacted U.S....

June 24, 2019

The American Immigration Council is proud to announce the winner of the 22nd Annual Celebrate America Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest. The contest encourages educators to incorporate lessons...

May 8, 2019

Each new generation of immigrants to the United States has, in time, achieved a high degree of integration into U.S. society. Whether it was immigrants from southern and eastern Europe a century...

March 25, 2019

Over the past few months, a new trend has emerged at the U.S.-Mexico border: more families are crossing and presenting themselves to U.S. officials to ask for asylum. But even though the number of...

September 17, 2018

Each year on September 17, America marks Citizenship Day, an annual opportunity to reflect on the benefits and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship. In years past, it was used as a day to...

August 28, 2018

The United States Senate and Republican Party lost one of their biggest champions for bipartisan immigration reform and most vocal critics of President Trump’s immigration policies when Senator...

August 14, 2018

America’s generosity is reflected in our immigration system. Throughout our nation’s history (with some shameful exceptions), we have allowed individuals to come to the United States to reunite...

June 5, 2018

June is Immigrant Heritage Month, and given the shrill and often negative rhetoric we hear around immigration, it seems more important than ever to take time to appreciate our immigration history...

February 26, 2018

Francis Cissna, Director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), unveiled a new mission statement for the agency last week, notably deleting the words “a nation of...

October 30, 2018
President Donald Trump said yesterday in an interview that he plans to sign an executive order to eliminate birthright citizenship, a principle enshrined in the U.S. Constitution that grants citizenship to any person born within the territory of the United States.
October 21, 2019

The ideology of President Trump is about more than limiting how many immigrants enter the United States each year; it’s about turning back the clock on U.S. social history. A recent analysis by...

August 23, 2019

Short-term thinking is inferior to long-term thinking, some argue, because it does a disservice to the future and those who will live it.  Two long-term thinkers who have profoundly impacted U.S....

June 24, 2019

The American Immigration Council is proud to announce the winner of the 22nd Annual Celebrate America Fifth Grade Creative Writing Contest. The contest encourages educators to incorporate lessons...

May 8, 2019

Each new generation of immigrants to the United States has, in time, achieved a high degree of integration into U.S. society. Whether it was immigrants from southern and eastern Europe a century...

March 25, 2019

Over the past few months, a new trend has emerged at the U.S.-Mexico border: more families are crossing and presenting themselves to U.S. officials to ask for asylum. But even though the number of...

October 30, 2018
President Donald Trump said yesterday in an interview that he plans to sign an executive order to eliminate birthright citizenship, a principle enshrined in the U.S. Constitution that grants citizenship to any person born within the territory of the United States.
September 17, 2018

Each year on September 17, America marks Citizenship Day, an annual opportunity to reflect on the benefits and responsibilities of U.S. citizenship. In years past, it was used as a day to...

August 28, 2018

The United States Senate and Republican Party lost one of their biggest champions for bipartisan immigration reform and most vocal critics of President Trump’s immigration policies when Senator...

August 14, 2018

America’s generosity is reflected in our immigration system. Throughout our nation’s history (with some shameful exceptions), we have allowed individuals to come to the United States to reunite...

June 5, 2018

June is Immigrant Heritage Month, and given the shrill and often negative rhetoric we hear around immigration, it seems more important than ever to take time to appreciate our immigration history...

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