How the Immigration System Works

While updating our immigration system has been a slow process, over the last decade, there have been efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation and the DREAM Act. Other reform efforts include executive actions such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). Learn more about the ways America can upgrade its immigration system.

Recent Features

All How the Immigration System Works Content

December 11, 2018

On Monday night, the 60–day comment period for the Trump administration’s proposed public charge regulation drew to a close. More than 210,000 comments were submitted, with the majority of...

December 3, 2018

Following Jeff Sessions’ resignation as Attorney General, President Trump named Matthew Whitaker to replace him—a move that has already inspired multiple lawsuits that contend the designation was...

November 15, 2018

The Trump administration’s move to deport more people from the United States has come into sharp focus again as it targets some of the most vulnerable immigrants with its Notice to Appear (NTA)...

October 31, 2018

On Monday night, President Trump told reporters that he intended to end birthright citizenship and claimed that he could do so with an executive order. Birthright citizenship comes from the...

September 24, 2018

Over the weekend, the Trump administration took steps to radically transform a little-known provision of immigration law that could have an outsized impact on legal immigration. In proposed...

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 20, 2018

The average wait time on a U.S. citizenship application was about five months in 2014. Today, the average time a green card holder will wait for their citizenship application to be processed by U....

July 24, 2018

How long does it take to process an application for permanent residence in the United States, or a “green card?” You might be surprised by how difficult it is to find a reliable answer to this...

July 17, 2018

As thousands of asylum-seeking parents were separated from their children in recent months, the Trump administration actively portrayed them as law breakers who must be prosecuted and punished for...

July 3, 2018

Coinciding with the Fourth of July each year, naturalization ceremonies turn immigrants into new American citizens. This Independence Day, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will...

September 15, 2020
This new rule will increase the total number of people who are required to submit biometric data from 3.9 million currently to 6.07 million—an increase of more than 60%.
August 26, 2020

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) told Congress in May that it was running out of money and would need a $1.2 billion bailout to maintain its operations without major disruptions....

July 31, 2020

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released an advance copy of a final rule on July 31 that will impose significant fee increases across many facets of the legal immigration system...

July 31, 2020
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services—the government agency that administers the country's legal immigration system—is expected to announce Monday major fee hikes for many immigration-related applications and petitions. The increased fees will impact people applying for U.S. citizenship and asylum, as well as American businesses hiring or retaining employees vital to our country’s recovery from a global health and economic crisis.
July 30, 2020

A federal judge in New York has once again put the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule on hold, but only for the duration of the COVID-19 national emergency. This rule, which went into...

July 29, 2020

The American Immigration Council submitted a written statement to the House Committee on Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship for a July 29, 2020 hearing on "Oversight of U....

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 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...

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