Immigration Benefits and Relief

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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All Immigration Benefits and Relief Content

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...
April 29, 2013
Today in the United States, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Americans who fall in love with and marry foreign nationals are being asked to choose between country and spouse, country...
October 16, 2012
There are roughly 1.8 million immigrants in the United States who might be, or might become, eligible for the Obama Administration’s “deferred action” initiative for unauthorized youth brought to...
August 17, 2012
Here's what you need to know about the “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) initiative, including eligibility requirements and important information on process and timing.
June 22, 2012
There are an estimated 1.4 million children and young adults in the United States who might benefit from President Obama’s...
This nationwide class action lawsuit challenges systemic delays in providing immigration files.
December 11, 2018
The American Immigration Council, with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, filed comments because a financial litmus test should never serve as a measure for who we welcome into our country.
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.
September 13, 2017
The statement addresses the impact of the President's decision to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), as well as shares our analysis and research on how immigrants play a vital role in our nation's economy.
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.
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.
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.
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.
March 18, 2015
This Practice Advisory, updated following the issuance of Secretary Johnson’s November 20, 2014 memorandum on Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants, explains what prosecutorial discretion is, who has authority to exercise it, and how it is exercised most often in immigration cases. It also suggests ways that attorneys can influence the favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion by ICE, CBP and USCIS officers.
February 5, 2015
This Practice Advisory provides an overview of the CSPA, its effective date, and its interpretation and implementation by USCIS, the U.S. Department of State, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the courts.
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).
January 21, 2014
This Practice Advisory provides background information about requesting stays of removal from the court of appeals, discusses the legal standard for obtaining a stay, and addresses the implications of the government’s policy with respect to return of individuals who are successful on their appeal.
November 20, 2013

This Practice Advisory discusses the "departure bar" to motions to reopen and arguments adopted by circuit courts that have rejected or upheld the bar.

April 29, 2021

When President Biden took office, he inherited a legal immigration system that was teetering on the brink of collapse. Delays within U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) have reached...

March 25, 2021

By the end of the Trump presidency, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) was all but destroyed. The former administration had attempted to end crucial protections for the hundreds of thousands of...

March 18, 2021

The U.S. House of Representatives passed two immigration bills on March 18, signaling that Congress might finally enact major immigration reform for the first time in over three decades. These...

March 4, 2021

Individuals hoping to become a naturalized American citizen will take a different civics test beginning this week, as U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) reverts back to a previous...

January 22, 2021

On his first day in office, President Biden took significant steps towards undoing the harm of the Trump administration’s immigration policies—and reforming our punitive and inhumane enforcement...

January 8, 2021

This article is part of the Moving Forward on Immigration series that explores the future of immigration in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.  The Biden administration faces a...

January 7, 2021

This article is part of the Moving Forward on Immigration series that explores the future of immigration in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.  The Biden administration will soon...

December 7, 2020

A federal judge in New York has overturned the Trump administration’s latest effort to limit the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative. DACA temporarily protects certain people...

December 1, 2020

The incoming Biden-Harris administration has announced its choice for secretary of the Department of Homeland Security: Alejandro Mayorkas. If confirmed, Mayorkas will represent several historic...

November 16, 2020

A judge has ruled that recent changes to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) that were a veiled attempt to gut the program are invalid because Chad Wolf—the acting secretary of the...

June 18, 2020
The U.S. Supreme Court today blocked the Trump administration’s efforts to end Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, a critical initiative that has offered deportation protection and work authorization to hundreds of thousands of young people who arrived in the United States as children.
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.
April 16, 2020
The American Immigration Council, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and the law firms Van Der Hout, LLP, Joseph & Hall P.C., and Kuck Baxter Immigration LLC filed a nationwide class action lawsuit today challenging U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ pattern and practice of arbitrarily denying H-1B nonimmigrant employment-based petitions for market research analysts positions filed by businesses in the United States.
October 15, 2019
A federal court in San Francisco certified two nationwide classes of immigrants and attorneys claiming that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have a systemic pattern and practice of failing to provide access to immigration case records within deadlines set by the Freedom of Information Act. The case records, known as A-files, contain information about individuals’ immigration history in the United States. This is the first time a court has certified a class in a lawsuit alleging a pattern and practice of violating FOIA
July 1, 2019
A report on interior immigration enforcement by the American Immigration Council examines newly disclosed government data on the Trump administration’s aggressive enforcement agenda. The report, “Changing Patterns of Interior Immigration Enforcement in the United States, 2016–2018,” reveals that U.S. citizens and immigrant women have become increasingly vulnerable to immigration enforcement actions under the administration.
February 28, 2019
The Trump administration’s immigration enforcement policies have increased immigrants’ vulnerability to swift deportation, making the ability to access safeguard more important than ever. The American Immigration Council and the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law filed a lawsuit to disclose critical information about how the Board of Immigration Appeals interprets legal safeguards that would allow these individuals to seek reopening or reconsidering of their immigration cases, and prevent the irreparable harms that can result from deportation.
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.
November 22, 2021
The Council and AILA submitted comments in support of a proposed rule for incorporating Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) DACA into regulation.
November 17, 2021
The Council joined 74 other organizations in a letter calling for DHS to eliminate restrictions on work authorization for asylum seekers.
November 12, 2021

U.S. workers are losing their jobs due to bureaucratic delays at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), despite an economy desperate for workers. Asylum seekers wanting to renew their...

November 11, 2021
Five workers in the United States filed a nationwide class action lawsuit today challenging unlawful log-jam and extreme delays at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that have resulted in the government’s failure to process the work authorization renewals for asylum seekers.
The Council and partners filed a nationwide class action lawsuit to ensure timely renewal of work authorizations documents for asylum seekers.
November 5, 2021

Annual limits on immigrant visa numbers, combined with processing delays and wasted numbers, mean even longer waits for people to become U.S. permanent residents. In November, the “cut off” date...

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November 2, 2021
The Council joined 89 other organizations in a letter calling for Congress to include visa-related provisions in the budget reconciliation.
September 30, 2021
This fact sheet provides an overview of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and prior attempts to dismantle the initiative, as well as its current status.
September 28, 2021
This fact sheet provides information on a provision called “registry” that allows certain non-citizens who are long-term residents of the United States, but who are either undocumented or present in...
September 27, 2021

The Biden administration followed through on its Day One promise to create a new regulation to “preserve and fortify” the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative (DACA) on September 27....

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