How the Immigration System Works

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.  

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All How the Immigration System Works Content

Last modified: 
June 5, 2024
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...
Last modified: 
June 4, 2024
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...

Last modified: 
February 27, 2024
Publication Date: 
June 29, 2022
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.
Last modified: 
January 19, 2024
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...
Last modified: 
October 31, 2023
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...
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January 13, 2023
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January 13, 2023
This program allows Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion of Ukraine to apply to come to the United States through “humanitarian parole.” Ukrainians who are granted humanitarian parole may...
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December 15, 2021
This fact sheet aims to explain the basics of the federal government funding process, also known as appropriations, and show how it affects the world of immigration and immigration enforcement.
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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...
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August 20, 2021
This fact sheet provides an overview of Documented Dreamers, explains how they can age out of immigration status at 21, and summarizes the current federal legislative proposals to protect them from...
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August 2, 2021
This fact sheet from the Council provides an overview of how current immigration law allows certain undocumented immigrants to become Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) without first having to leave...
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 6, 2020

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

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....

July 16, 2019
The statement highlights the Council’s concerns regarding systemic U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services delays in responding to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
Last modified: 
April 17, 2023
Publication Date: 
December 16, 2022
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.
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...

February 16, 2024

On February 9, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released data about its progress toward meeting its strategic goals in fiscal year (FY) 2023. For the first time in years, the...

September 28, 2023

A recent Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision bars certain recently arrived noncitizens from becoming lawful permanent residents. In Matter of Cabrera-Fernandez, the BIA held that the...

September 28, 2023

After weeks of failed negotiations on spending, Congress has less than a week left to avert a potential government shutdown. Members of the House Republicans’ Freedom Caucus have refused to pass...

September 5, 2023

On August 24, 2023, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced a new update to its policy manual clarifying a previous policy change aimed at expanding green card eligibility...

February 10, 2023

In January, Republicans took control of the House of Representatives. After a lengthy fight over the Speaker of the House resolved, the new majority wasted no time in holding multiple hearings on...

August 10, 2022

The lack of a major overhaul in the United States’ immigration system for roughly thirty years has created an ecosystem where states have attempted to insert their authority over immigration,...

June 29, 2022

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) operates under a flawed funding model. This virtually guarantees that the agency will always be under-funded and under-staffed. As a result, USCIS...

April 22, 2022

The Biden administration failed to issue many of the immigrant visas—more commonly known as green cards—that were allotted last year for immigrants who have been sponsored by a U.S. employer or...

February 22, 2022

The Canadian government released its 2022-2024 immigration targets earlier this week. Should it reach these targets, the number of new immigrants entering Canada would reach levels not seen in...

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.
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.
June 12, 2018
Through analysis of data from the decennial census and administrative data from the Immigration and Naturalization Service, this special report examines the earnings gains over time of all immigrants, as well as the earnings gains experienced by family-based immigrants compared to employment-based immigrants.
Last modified: 
June 5, 2024
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...
Last modified: 
June 4, 2024
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...

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.
Last modified: 
March 7, 2024
Publication Date: 
March 7, 2024
The American Immigration Council appeared before Congress to discuss the need for Congress to overhaul the asylum system.
Last modified: 
February 27, 2024
Publication Date: 
June 29, 2022
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.
Last modified: 
January 19, 2024
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...
Last modified: 
November 7, 2023
Publication Date: 
November 7, 2023
The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association submitted this comment in support of the proposed rule, "Appellate Procedures and Decisional Finality in Immigration...
Last modified: 
October 31, 2023
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...
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.
Last modified: 
April 17, 2023
Publication Date: 
December 16, 2022
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.

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