Immigration 101

The U.S. immigration system is complex and can be difficult to understand. These resources provide key data points, historical information, and background on hot topics in immigration. Learn the basics about immigration.

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All Immigration 101 Content

Publication Date: 
July 12, 2024
This fact sheet provides an overview of how Temporary Protected Status designations are made, what benefits TPS confers, and how TPS beneficiaries apply for and regularly renew their status.
Publication Date: 
June 24, 2024
U.S. immigration law is very complex, and there is much confusion as to how it works. This fact sheet provides basic information about how the U.S. legal immigration system is designed.
Publication Date: 
June 5, 2024
On June 4, the Biden administration issued a presidential proclamation and an Interim Final Rule restricting access to asylum for people crossing into the United States without legal status. The...
Publication Date: 
June 4, 2024
Under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the president of the United States has the authority to “suspend the entry” of certain noncitizens into the United States under...
Publication Date: 
February 1, 2024
Under the “Migrant Protection Protocols”, individuals who arrive at the southern border and ask for asylum (either at a port of entry or after crossing the border between ports of entry) are given...
Publication Date: 
January 19, 2024
This fact sheet provides an overview of the benefits of obtaining naturalized citizenship in the United States, as well as information about the naturalized population and those who meet the...
Publication Date: 
January 15, 2024
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...
Publication Date: 
October 31, 2023
An overview of the Biden administration's parole programs for Cubans, Haitians, Nicaraguans and Venezuelans (CHNV), which admit up to 30,000 people per month with the ability to live and work in the...
Publication Date: 
August 2, 2023
This fact sheet looks at the population of undocumented students in higher education institutions across the country.
Cover of Refugee Report
Publication Date: 
June 20, 2023
A record 100 million people around the globe were forced to flee their homes in 2022, up from 65 million in 2015. Of those displaced last year, 32.5 million were refugees who had to leave their...
The Council seeks records from immigration courts about how they process record requests and comply with proactive disclosure requirements. This information will help advocates ensure that noncitizens in removal proceedings have access to their records and that the courts are complying with record disclosure requirements.
The requested records will shed light on CBP's practices with respect to granting and extending humanitarian parole and the agency's determinations regarding which addresses to include on immigration paperwork.
This lawsuit challenges USCIS' unreasonable delay in processing naturalization applications that were filed in 2020 and has prevented applicants from becoming U.S. citizens.
Publication Date: 
February 12, 2021
The Council submitted this declaration in support of the ACLU's defense of the Biden Administration's moratorium on deportations. This declaration explains how the removal and detention system works.
October 13, 2020
The American Immigration Council, the Immigration Defense Clinic at Colorado Law, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, submitted a comment in opposition to the Department of Homeland Security proposed rule on the "Collection and Use of Biometrics by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services."
October 6, 2020

This document provides a summary of the Department of Homeland Security's September 25, 2020, Proposed Rule, "...

September 30, 2020

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is attempting to permanently destroy records related to civil rights complaints against the agency, administrative and criminal investigations into...

September 25, 2020

The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, through their joint initiative, the Immigration Justice Campaign, submitted this comment in opposition to...

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%.
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....

Publication Date: 
November 28, 2023
This practice advisory describes some of the common tools of statutory construction to assist practitioners in advocating for narrow definitions of generic criminal removal grounds...
Publication Date: 
August 22, 2023
This practice advisory looks into the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court issued in Pugin v. Garland, 143 S. Ct. 1833 (2023). This immigration decision addressed the generic definition of the obstruction of justice aggravated felony ground at 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)(S).
Publication Date: 
April 17, 2023
This practice advisory explains 1) the ways to submit a FOIA request for a client’s immigration records, or A-File, 2) provides suggestions for avoiding agency rejections of the requests, and 3) identifies issues related to the Nightingale injunction that class counsel are monitoring.
Publication Date: 
April 25, 2022

This practice advisory provides a basic overview of motions to reopen removal orders that are filed with the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), which consists of immigration courts...

Publication Date: 
October 4, 2019
This practice advisory summarizes the most common grounds raised by the government in motions to dismiss federal court agency adjudication delay lawsuits and outlines arguments that can be made in response.
Publication Date: 
September 10, 2018
This Practice Advisory provides a practitioner-focused overview of motions to continue a case in removal proceedings, from the basics of making the motion to advanced issues of jurisdictional bars to appellate review of continuances.
Publication Date: 
October 22, 2015
This Practice Advisory focuses on the meaning of “admission” in four very specific, but frequently encountered situations: a “wave-through” at a port of entry; and entry based on misrepresentation; an entry based on a false claim to U.S. citizenship; and the grant of TPS as an admission for purposes of adjustment of status.
Publication Date: 
February 5, 2014
The American Immigration Council’s Practice Advisory, Employment Authorization and Asylum: Strategies to Avoid Stopping the Asylum Clock, has been updated to reflect extensive changes to the manner in which the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) determine an asylum applicant’s eligibility for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
July 23, 2024

As the country continues to dissect the ramifications from President Joe Biden’s decision to drop out of the presidential race, the attention has quickly shifted toward Vice President Kamala...

July 19, 2024

Border crossings are at their lowest in four years. Is the Biden administration’s executive action working as intended—or is there another factor at play? Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border...

July 2, 2024

Almost one in every seven people in the United States is an immigrant, according to the American Immigration Council’s new analysis of the 2022 American Community Survey. The updated state-level...

June 7, 2024

The U.S. Border Patrol turned 100 years old on May 28. Its troubled origins and history form the backdrop for contemporary concerns about the agency, including impunity for abuses against migrants...

June 7, 2024

According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, about 11.0 million undocumented immigrants were living in the United States in 2022—a 4.6% increase from 2020. This is...

June 5, 2024

On June 4, President Biden issued a sweeping order under section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act claiming that allows him to “suspend the entry” of most migrants who cross the border...

April 26, 2024

On April 19, forty minutes after the ostensible deadline to reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), Congress passed H.R. 7888, the Reforming Intelligence and...

April 23, 2024

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) recently announced its revision of the race and ethnicity question on federal surveys, including the U.S. census, adding “Middle Eastern or...

April 15, 2024

Without fail, each Tax Day a prevalent myth resurfaces that conceals the truth about immigrants’ contributions to federal, state, and local taxes. Bolstered by social media and other outlets, it...

April 9, 2024

President Biden signed the final 6-bill “minibus” funding package for fiscal year (FY) 2024 on March 23, which includes funding for the agencies that implement our immigration laws. This was the...

June 5, 2024
A new analysis of 2022 U.S. census data highlights how, amidst the Biden administration's recent actions to limit asylum access along the U.S.-Mexico border, and in the context of ramped-up anti-immigrant rhetoric during this year’s presidential campaign, immigrants are helping make the United States a more prosperous and economically booming country.
May 29, 2024
Immigrants accounted for 57.7 percent of Michigan’s population growth over last decade and contributed $67.8 billion, or 9.9 percent, of the state’s total GDP in 2022
April 4, 2024
Immigrants play a crucial role in the labor force in southern Maine, according to data in a new report.
February 26, 2024
A new research report by the American Immigration Council underscores the crucial role immigrants play in the Houston area’s economy, finding that immigrants paid $16 billion in taxes and exceeded $50 billion in spending power in 2021.
October 13, 2023
A federal court in California denied a preliminary injunction in a legal challenge to the Biden administration’s policy of turning back asylum seekers who request protection without first obtaining an appointment via the government’s CBP One smartphone app.
August 29, 2023
In an annual review of the most successful companies in the United States, the American Immigration Council unveiled today (August 29, 2023) a report that sheds light on the contributions of immigrant entrepreneurs and their children to the U.S. economy.
February 3, 2023
The American Immigration Council reports underscore the key role of immigrant healthcare workforces of Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
November 29, 2022
In response to the Supreme Court of the United States hearing oral arguments in the case, U.S. v. Texas -- a dispute over the Biden Administration’s authority to set immigration policy, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the American Immigration Council (AIC) have issued the following statement.
October 4, 2022
The data interactive, “The Changing Demographics of the Electorate at a State Level,” highlights the changes in the demographics of eligible voters in every state now compared to 2016, broken down by gender, age, and ethnicity.
September 7, 2022
The American Immigration Council will host the New American Fellows Showcase to amplify advocacy and immigrant voices.
July 23, 2024

As the country continues to dissect the ramifications from President Joe Biden’s decision to drop out of the presidential race, the attention has quickly shifted toward Vice President Kamala...

July 19, 2024

Border crossings are at their lowest in four years. Is the Biden administration’s executive action working as intended—or is there another factor at play? Apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border...

Publication Date: 
July 12, 2024
This fact sheet provides an overview of how Temporary Protected Status designations are made, what benefits TPS confers, and how TPS beneficiaries apply for and regularly renew their status.
July 2, 2024

Almost one in every seven people in the United States is an immigrant, according to the American Immigration Council’s new analysis of the 2022 American Community Survey. The updated state-level...

Publication Date: 
June 24, 2024
U.S. immigration law is very complex, and there is much confusion as to how it works. This fact sheet provides basic information about how the U.S. legal immigration system is designed.
June 7, 2024

The U.S. Border Patrol turned 100 years old on May 28. Its troubled origins and history form the backdrop for contemporary concerns about the agency, including impunity for abuses against migrants...

June 7, 2024

According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, about 11.0 million undocumented immigrants were living in the United States in 2022—a 4.6% increase from 2020. This is...

June 5, 2024

On June 4, President Biden issued a sweeping order under section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act claiming that allows him to “suspend the entry” of most migrants who cross the border...

Publication Date: 
June 5, 2024
On June 4, the Biden administration issued a presidential proclamation and an Interim Final Rule restricting access to asylum for people crossing into the United States without legal status. The...
June 5, 2024
A new analysis of 2022 U.S. census data highlights how, amidst the Biden administration's recent actions to limit asylum access along the U.S.-Mexico border, and in the context of ramped-up anti-immigrant rhetoric during this year’s presidential campaign, immigrants are helping make the United States a more prosperous and economically booming country.

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