Immigration Benefits and Relief

Our legal system rests upon the principle that everyone is entitled to due process of law and a meaningful opportunity to be heard. But for far too long, the immigration system has failed to provide noncitizens with a system of justice that lives up to this standard. Learn about ways in which the immigration system could ensure that all noncitizens have a fair day in court.  

Recent Features

All Immigration Benefits and Relief Content

July 18, 2018
This fact sheet provides an overview of how USCIS calculates processing times and the concerns over the accuracy of these estimates.
September 6, 2017
This fact sheet provides an overview of the Dream Act and other similar legislative proposals, explains changes made to DACA, and provides information about policies at the state level that support...
October 28, 2016
This Fact Sheet provides background on the three- and ten-year bars and waivers, and explains the recent regulatory changes.
June 28, 2016
This fact sheet provides an overview of the lawsuits that have challenged expanded DACA and DAPA. It explains the legal claims, the court decisions, and the process.
April 11, 2016
This guide provides brief answers to common questions about United States v. Texas, including what is at stake in the case, how the litigation began, what the contested issues are, and the impact the...
February 1, 2016
DACA has helped its beneficiaries find employment and increase their earnings. But, even with better jobs, not all DACA beneficiaries in our study were able to afford tuition at four-year...
August 26, 2014
The President has the legal authority to make a significant number of unauthorized migrants eligible for temporary relief from deportation that would be similar to the relief available under the...
June 16, 2014
This week marks the two-year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, first initiated by President Obama on June 15, 2012. This research brief presents current...
August 15, 2013

As Congress continues to debate immigration reform, August 15th marks the one-year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)...

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...
The American Immigration Council has filed a class action lawsuit against officials at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U.S. Department of Homeland Security in a federal district court in New York, challenging the government’s unlawful practice of depriving certain Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders with close family relationships or employment in the United States from becoming lawful permanent residents.
February 19, 2018
In the case, Attorney General Jeff Sessions referred to himself questions related to administrative closure. This move by Sessions could signal an attempt to end administrative closure altogether—which could force over 350,000 immigrants back into immigration court, exacerbating the challenges of an already overburdened immigration court system.
The Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program (CAARP) is a secret and unlawful government vetting program that targets thousands of applicants who are Muslim or from certain Muslim-majority countries for delay or denial of immigration benefits.
March 31, 2017
The Council, with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, filed this amicus brief arguing that a grant of TPS satisfies the “admission” requirement for adjustment of status under INA § 245(a) and that, as a result, an individual who entered without inspection and later received a grant of TPS has been “admitted” and may adjust to lawful permanent resident status if otherwise eligible.
October 19, 2016
The Council, along with amici the University of Houston Law Center, AILA, and others, submitted a brief in response to a request from the Board of Immigration Appeals, arguing that lawful permanent residents who were initially admitted to the United States after being waved through a port of entry were eligible for cancellation of removal on the grounds that they had been “admitted in any status,” a requirement of the cancellation statute.
March 7, 2016
The American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the National Immigration Law Center, the Service Employees International Union, the Advancement Project, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, filed an amicus brief on behalf of 320 other immigrants’ rights, civil rights, labor and social service organizations, urging the Supreme Court to lift the injunction that blocked the deferred action initiatives that President Obama announced in November 2014. In the brief, the groups outline how families and communities would benefit from the initiatives. The brief also provides examples of parents and individuals who would be able to contribute more fully to their communities if the immigration initiatives were allowed to take effect. The oral argument is scheduled for April 18, 2016.
November 4, 2015
INA § 203(h)(3) provides alternate benefits - specifically, retention of the original priority date and automatic conversion of the petition - for beneficiaries who are found to have "aged out" under the age preservation formula of the CSPA. The Council opposed the BIA’s restrictive interpretation of this provision in In amicus curiae briefs filed with several Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court, arguing that it should be found to apply to a larger universe of aged-out children. Ultimately, the Supreme Court upheld the BIA’s interpretation.
Faced with increasing reports from immigration lawyers of EAD adjudication delays, the Council and several partners filed this lawsuit against USCIS and DHS.
April 6, 2015
The American Immigration Council and its partners, the National Immigration Law Center and the Service Employees International Union, filed an amicus brief arguing that the Texas federal district court order blocking expanded DACA and DAPA should be reversed. The brief, filed on behalf of more than 150 civil rights, labor, and immigration advocacy groups, argues that these deferred action initiatives will have significant and widespread benefits on the U.S. economy, individual immigrants, their families, and their communities. The brief also includes examples of the government’s exercise of its discretion to deny requests under the initial DACA program to refute the district court’s conclusion that such cases are not adjudicated on a case-by-case basis.
December 29, 2014
The American Immigration Council and its partners, the National Immigration Law Center and the Service Employees International Union, in collaboration with other immigration, civil rights and labor groups, joined the legal effort to defend the deferred action initiatives President Obama announced on November 20, 2014. The amicus brief, which was written in support of the federal government, provides powerful economic, fiscal and societal reasons to permit the implementation of these programs.
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.
June 13, 2018
This practice advisory provides a brief overview of administrative closure and explains the impact of that decision on the future availability of administrative closure, as well as on cases that are currently administratively closed.
December 20, 2017
This practice advisory describes USCIS’ position and offers practical suggestions for filing asylum applications that USCIS is likely to reject for lack of jurisdiction.
September 5, 2017
This Practice Advisory is designed to assist attorneys in determining whether individuals seeking Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals might be eligible for immigration benefits.
August 1, 2017
This Practice Advisory addresses some of the legal issues that may arise when noncitizens in removal proceedings seek to suppress evidence unlawfully obtained by Customs and Border Protection officers.
March 8, 2017
This Practice Advisory provides basic information about filing an immigration-related mandamus action in federal district court. It discusses the required elements of a successful mandamus action as well as jurisdictional concerns that may arise.
December 1, 2015
The immigration courts’ unprecedented backlogs are creating procedural and substantive challenges for attorneys trying to comply with the One-Year Filing Deadline (OYFD) in asylum cases. This Practice Advisory discusses strategies and procedures for complying with the OYFD.
November 18, 2015
This Practice Advisory provides updated information about Initial Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) as well as the DACA Renewal process. It offers strategic advice for attorneys representing individuals who may qualify for DACA. The American Immigration Council issued this Advisory jointly with the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild.
November 1, 2015
This Practice Advisory discusses the impact of an interim rule repealing two former regulations which barred all “arriving aliens” from adjusting status if they are in removal proceedings. This Advisory provides a brief history leading to the rule, defines key terms, discusses the impact of the rule, and suggests steps that a parolee can take to benefit from the rule.
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.
October 2, 2018

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued guidance to its officers in June instructing them to initiate deportation proceedings for certain applicants who were denied immigration...

September 28, 2018

On October 1, the Supreme Court will begin hearing cases for the start of its 2018-2019 term. Although only one immigration case is currently scheduled to be heard, challenges to President Trump’s...

September 4, 2018

This week will mark the one-year anniversary of President Trump’s announcement ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative. Yet, defenders and recipients of DACA are...

August 6, 2018

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to restart the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative by August 23. This ruling in the D.C. District Court comes just...

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 9, 2018

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued new guidance to initiate deportation proceedings for thousands of applicants denied for any immigration benefit. This policy change will...

June 29, 2018

In an 8-1 decision on June 21, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of an individual previously prevented from applying for a type of relief from deportation known as cancellation of removal. In...

May 17, 2018

In another attempt to restrict legal immigration, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a policy change to the way foreign students and exchange visitors accrue unlawful...

May 16, 2018

The Trump administration’s attempt to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative set off a slew of lawsuits attempting to stop the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from...

May 14, 2018

Immigration policies may be crafted on a national scale, under the purview of the federal government, but it is at the local level that immigrants live their lives. And it is at the local level...

August 2, 2018
A judge ordered last week that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must adjudicate work authorization applications for asylum seekers within the prescribed 30-day deadline.
February 22, 2018
In violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act, USCIS denies the green card applications of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders who first entered the United States without going through an inspection process at a port of entry, ignoring the fact that they subsequently were inspected and admitted when they were granted TPS.
February 21, 2018
The American Immigration Council, joined by several other immigration groups, submitted an amicus brief that argues that due process requires an impartial adjudicator and that Sessions’ anti-immigrant statements and actions prevent him from acting as one. The brief lays out Sessions’ decades-long public record of anti-immigrant statements, including specific statements evidencing prejudgment of issues in the case, and urges Sessions to either vacate the referral order or recuse himself from the case.
October 8, 2017
The White House released its long anticipated, "Immigration Principles and Policies," which lay out many of the already-stated aspirations of the Trump administration on immigration. The laundry list represents a wholesale attack on immigration and immigrants. It includes not only limits on immigration generally, but enables mass deportations and envisions bypassing necessary procedures that protect children and asylum seekers.
July 19, 2017
U.S. District Court Judge James Robert granted a motion to certify a nationwide class in Northwest Immigrant Rights Project v. USCIS, recognizing that USCIS must adjudicate asylum seekers’ employment authorization applications within 30 days if they are submitted in a timely manner.
January 30, 2017
The lawsuit is filed on behalf of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents who have filed visa petitions for their immediate family members who are nationals of the seven countries.
June 23, 2016

Washington D.C. - Today, the Supreme Court issued a 4-4 decision in United States v.

April 18, 2016

Washington D.C. - Today, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in United States v. Texas.

October 2, 2018

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued guidance to its officers in June instructing them to initiate deportation proceedings for certain applicants who were denied immigration...

September 28, 2018

On October 1, the Supreme Court will begin hearing cases for the start of its 2018-2019 term. Although only one immigration case is currently scheduled to be heard, challenges to President Trump’s...

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.
September 4, 2018

This week will mark the one-year anniversary of President Trump’s announcement ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative. Yet, defenders and recipients of DACA are...

August 6, 2018

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to restart the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative by August 23. This ruling in the D.C. District Court comes just...

August 2, 2018
A judge ordered last week that United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must adjudicate work authorization applications for asylum seekers within the prescribed 30-day deadline.
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 18, 2018
This fact sheet provides an overview of how USCIS calculates processing times and the concerns over the accuracy of these estimates.
July 9, 2018

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) issued new guidance to initiate deportation proceedings for thousands of applicants denied for any immigration benefit. This policy change will...

June 29, 2018

In an 8-1 decision on June 21, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of an individual previously prevented from applying for a type of relief from deportation known as cancellation of removal. In...

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