How the Immigration System Works

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 How the Immigration System Works Content

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 12, 2011
In its second year under the Obama Administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—which is responsible for the nation’s three immigration agencies (USCIS, CBP, and ICE)—continues to...
January 1, 2010
While some characterize our immigration crisis as solely an issue of the 11 to 12 million unauthorized...
November 9, 2009
From the Revolutionary War to the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, immigrants have made significant contributions to the United States by serving in our military forces. Today, immigrants...
October 21, 2009
While some characterize our immigration crisis as solely an issue of the 11 to 12 million unauthorized immigrants living in this country, our problems extend beyond the number of undocumented people...
April 23, 2020

At a time when our country is united in the fight against the coronavirus, President Trump is seeking to divide us by turning to a familiar target—immigrants. The president first threatened a full...

March 5, 2020

The Trump administration is creating a new office of attorneys tasked with stripping immigrants of their U.S. citizenship. The task force will investigate and prosecute people it suspects...

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 6, 2020

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ (USCIS) recent proposal to increase most of their fees has been met with strong opposition. The proposal drew widespread attention, garnering nearly 10,...

December 19, 2019

When people who immigrate to the United States are enabled to become U.S. citizens, everyone benefits. Citizenship allows people to have more stable lives by granting access to better work,...

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 13, 2019

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published the final version of its new “public charge” regulation on Monday morning. The rule would make it easier for the government to deny a green card...

June 7, 2019

Applications for permanent residence and other immigration benefits are taking longer than ever to process. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the agency responsible for...

April 25, 2019

The White House issued a memo on Monday directing the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to provide recommendations to reduce visa overstays. The recommendations, which are expected within...

July 23, 2020

A Canadian court has ruled that the United States is no longer a country to which the Canadian government could safely return asylum seekers who crossed the U.S-Canada land border.  This upends...

July 21, 2020

The Trump administration has justified major changes to citizenship processing to “safeguard” the U.S. immigration system from application fraud. Yet the increased vetting has not lowered the...

July 13, 2020

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) expects, by the end of July, to have worked through nearly the entire backlog of naturalization oath ceremonies put on hold in response to the...

June 12, 2020
Current U.S. immigration law provides several paths for foreign workers to enter the United States for employment purposes on a temporary or permanent basis. This fact sheet provides basic...
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...
June 4, 2020

The U.S. Supreme Court found on Monday that federal courts have the authority to review certain claims from people who are seeking protection from torture. The case, Nasrallah v. Barr, is about...

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 12, 2020

The U.S. government rejects an immigrant’s entire application for a visa or immigration benefit over a single blank field on a form. Applications can be rejected if a box is left unchecked or has...

April 23, 2020

At a time when our country is united in the fight against the coronavirus, President Trump is seeking to divide us by turning to a familiar target—immigrants. The president first threatened a full...

April 22, 2020
President Donald Trump signed an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration to the United States. The order applies to many individuals currently outside the United States who do not yet have immigrant (permanent) visas.

Most Read

  • Publications
  • Blog Posts
  • Past:
  • Trending