History of Immigration

The immigration laws and regulations provide some avenues to apply for lawful status from within the U.S. or to seek relief from deportation.  The eligibility requirements for these benefits and relief can be stringent, and the immigration agencies often adopt overly restrictive interpretations of the requirements.  Learn about advocacy and litigation that has been and can be undertaken to ensure that noncitizens have a fair chance to apply for the benefits and relief for which they are eligible.  

Recent Features

All History of Immigration Content

March 7, 2018
Enforcement of U.S. immigration laws has historically been guided by policies that emphasize prioritization. However, this practice has largely been abandoned since the inauguration of President...
November 25, 2015
This report provides background on the refugee experience in the United States, including welcoming and exclusionary responses, the impacts of these disparate reactions, and lessons to consider in...
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...
January 31, 2013
While there are many facets to an intelligent immigration reform package, one thing is clear: legalization for undocumented immigrants helps all of us. Most economists recognize that legalization...
January 13, 2012
The United States and the colonial society that preceded it were created by successive waves of immigration from all corners of the globe. But public and political attitudes towards immigrants have...
September 13, 2010
It’s hardly news that the complaints of our latter-day nativists and immigration restrictionists—from Sam Huntington to Rush Limbaugh, from FAIR to V-DARE—resonate with the nativist arguments of some...
June 4, 2010
The capacity of these groups to stymie attempts to reform our broken immigration system should not be underestimated.
May 21, 2008
Since the mid-1980s, the federal government has tried repeatedly, without success, to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants to the United States with immigration-enforcement initiatives: deploying...
September 14, 2021

The September 11th terrorist attacks not only led to the tragic deaths of 2,977 people, they fundamentally changed the nature of immigration law and policy in the United States. Since 9/11, the U....

April 2, 2021

Over the last two months, the Biden administration has been pressured to carry out another crackdown at the border as the number of arriving families and children rise. But officials making these...

February 11, 2021

The U.S. Border Patrol has been rooted in institutional racism since its founding in 1924. Almost a century later, the agency continues to commit racially fueled violent acts with near impunity....

November 6, 2020

A major theme of the 2020 election has been how demographic shifts in the American electorate would influence the outcome. Political pundits have given a great deal of airtime to examining the...

August 18, 2020

People born in the United States are American citizens, regardless of what President Trump claims. Birthright citizenship—enshrined by the Fourteenth Amendment in the U.S. Constitution—guarantees...

August 6, 2020

The Trump administration announced on August 3 plans to end the 2020 Census one month earlier than previously planned. The change has led to fears that immigrant and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and...

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...

March 30, 2020

We are in the midst of a crisis unlike any we’ve experienced in our lifetimes. We are scared and scrambling to protect ourselves and the ones that we love. This is normal and understandable....

February 24, 2020

After months in the courts, the Trump administration declared victory and began enforcing its new “public charge” rule. The rule goes into effect on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020, inside the United States...

September 14, 2021

The September 11th terrorist attacks not only led to the tragic deaths of 2,977 people, they fundamentally changed the nature of immigration law and policy in the United States. Since 9/11, the U....

May 3, 2021
In this letter, the Council and a diverse coalition call on the Biden administration to stop and reevaluate plans to destroy immigration agency records documenting abuse and misconduct.
April 2, 2021

Over the last two months, the Biden administration has been pressured to carry out another crackdown at the border as the number of arriving families and children rise. But officials making these...

February 11, 2021

The U.S. Border Patrol has been rooted in institutional racism since its founding in 1924. Almost a century later, the agency continues to commit racially fueled violent acts with near impunity....

November 6, 2020

A major theme of the 2020 election has been how demographic shifts in the American electorate would influence the outcome. Political pundits have given a great deal of airtime to examining the...

August 18, 2020

People born in the United States are American citizens, regardless of what President Trump claims. Birthright citizenship—enshrined by the Fourteenth Amendment in the U.S. Constitution—guarantees...

August 6, 2020

The Trump administration announced on August 3 plans to end the 2020 Census one month earlier than previously planned. The change has led to fears that immigrant and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and...

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...

March 30, 2020

We are in the midst of a crisis unlike any we’ve experienced in our lifetimes. We are scared and scrambling to protect ourselves and the ones that we love. This is normal and understandable....

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