How the Immigration System Works

The enforcement of immigration laws is a complex and hotly-debated topic. Learn more about the costs of immigration enforcement and the ways in which the U.S. can enforce our immigration laws humanely and in a manner that ensures due process.

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November 9, 2017

The United States Armed Forces has long valued the contributions of immigrants—from the War of 1812 to the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East, U.S.-born and immigrant soldiers have fought...

November 6, 2017

It has been well established for decades that the vast majority of immigrants are not criminals by any stretch of the imagination. Yet, immigrants who have committed no violent offense are often...

November 1, 2017

Americans value diversity and family. That is why our immigration system generally reflects those values. The U.S. diversity visa lottery, which was enshrined into law in 1990, was created to...

September 14, 2017

Following through on a directive from President Trump made during his first week in office, the State Department on Monday invoked a rarely-used law to impose visa restrictions on Cambodia,...

August 9, 2017

An immigration judge ordered the immediate release of a three-year-old immigrant child and his mother from a detention center in rural Pennsylvania on Monday, stating that it was one of the most...

August 7, 2017

The recent deaths of ten migrants who suffocated in the back of a tractor trailer as they were allegedly being smuggled into the United States has brought renewed attention to the grave risks...

July 28, 2017

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court issued a unanimous decision on Monday holding that Massachusetts court officers may not arrest and detain immigrants based solely on a detainer. Although...

July 12, 2017

Men, women, and children fleeing persecution, grave violence, and even death arrive daily at Ports of Entry (POE) all along the U.S.-Mexico border and present themselves to U.S. Customs and Border...

July 10, 2017

A recent story from ProPublica has revealed an internal February 2017 memorandum authored by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to its employees about the implementation of recent Executive...

June 27, 2017

Over the past two decades, much of the immigration policy debate has focused on issues related to immigration enforcement. In fact, many argue that “enforcement first”—the notion that we must...

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...

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.

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