Executive Action

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.  

All Executive Action Content

February 27, 2017
The provisions in the order pose serious concerns for the protection and due process rights of those currently residing in the United States, communities along the U.S-Mexico border, and vulnerable...
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.
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...
March 11, 2015
The series of executive actions on immigration which President Obama announced on November 20, 2014, would have a beneficial—if modest—impact on the U.S. economy.
December 9, 2014
From 1987 to 1990, Presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush, Sr. used their executive authority to protect from deportation a group that Congress left out of its 1986 immigration reform legislation—...
November 30, 2014
On November 20 and 21, 2014, President Obama announced his “immigration accountability executive action,” which includes a series of measures that are first steps towards common-sense reforms to an...
October 2, 2014
Much has been made of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, through which he deferred deportation for young adults brought to the U.S. as children. But as...
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...
September 1, 2011
While it is true that Congress makes the laws and the President executes them, it is also true that the President, the Cabinet, and a host of regulatory agencies spend countless hours interpreting...
May 26, 2011
Frustrated by the lack of comprehensive immigration reform, many advocates, from grassroots community organizers to Members of Congress, have begun calling on President Obama to take action. They...
This sign-on letter expresses concerns about DHS’s implementation of the new prosecutorial discretion policy, including the agency’s failure to grant work authorization to those who receive a favorable exercise of discretion. The letter also makes recommendations to ensure that DHS fulfills its pledge to implement an effective and fair prosecutorial discretion policy nationwide.

This letter to several Administration officials was submitted in response to the DHS/White House announcement on August 18, 2011 that it would form a "Prosecutorial Discretion Working Group" to...

This memorandum, which was released by the American Immigration Council and co-signed by two general counsels of the former Immigration and Naturalization Service, offers an overview of the scope of executive branch authority and outlines specific steps the Administration could take to forestall removals in sympathetic cases.

This letter requests written guidance setting forth detailed criteria for the favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion and the assignment of a high-level officer to monitor implementation of...

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.
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.
November 20, 2019

In yet another major blow to America’s asylum system, on Wednesday the Trump administration reportedly began sending some asylum seekers from Honduras and El Salvador to Guatemala rather than...

November 19, 2019

The Trump administration is preparing to seize private land in Texas to continue construction of the president’s long-promised border wall. According to government officials familiar with the...

November 13, 2019

The Supreme Court heard arguments on November 12 in three cases challenging President Trump’s attempted rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative. The Court’s...

November 4, 2019

A federal judge temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s health care ban on Saturday, one day before it was scheduled to go into effect. The ban would have barred entry for any prospective...

October 18, 2019

President Trump has made the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border a cornerstone of his presidency. To date, not a single mile of new barriers has been erected. But the Trump...

October 9, 2019

President Trump invoked the same legal authority used for the Travel Ban to impose a sweeping new ban on legal immigration last week. Under the new ban, which analysis suggests could block as much...

May 6, 2019

In a move designed to ratchet up pressure on Congress, last week the White House sent an emergency budget request to Congress asking for $4.5 billion of funding to deal with increased numbers of...

April 10, 2019

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned from her position on Monday. She was reportedly forced from office after President Trump grew frustrated with the...

March 10, 2017
Immigrant rights groups asked the Washington District Court to again enjoin the Trump Administration’s “Muslim Ban” executive order.
January 27, 2017
These actions will isolate America and make us all party to blatant and bigoted religious targeting. These actions also ignore the multi-layered processes the government already uses to screen and vet those seeking entry to the U.S., whether as a refugee, on a tourist visa, or another visa permitting entry.
January 25, 2017
President Trump announced executive orders that are intended to follow through on campaign promises to build a wall and deport millions. Here's our response.
July 20, 2016
In a disappointing but unsurprising decision, a divided panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals today denied the federal government’s appeal of the preliminary injunction that has temporarily stopped President Obama’s latest deferred action initiatives from being implemented.
July 19, 2016
Immigration, civil rights and labor groups joined the legal effort to defend President Obama’s recent executive action on immigration by filing an amicus “friend of the court” brief in the case, State of Texas vs. United States.
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.

November 20, 2019

In yet another major blow to America’s asylum system, on Wednesday the Trump administration reportedly began sending some asylum seekers from Honduras and El Salvador to Guatemala rather than...

November 19, 2019

The Trump administration is preparing to seize private land in Texas to continue construction of the president’s long-promised border wall. According to government officials familiar with the...

November 13, 2019

The Supreme Court heard arguments on November 12 in three cases challenging President Trump’s attempted rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative. The Court’s...

November 4, 2019

A federal judge temporarily blocked the Trump administration’s health care ban on Saturday, one day before it was scheduled to go into effect. The ban would have barred entry for any prospective...

October 18, 2019

President Trump has made the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border a cornerstone of his presidency. To date, not a single mile of new barriers has been erected. But the Trump...

October 9, 2019

President Trump invoked the same legal authority used for the Travel Ban to impose a sweeping new ban on legal immigration last week. Under the new ban, which analysis suggests could block as much...

May 6, 2019

In a move designed to ratchet up pressure on Congress, last week the White House sent an emergency budget request to Congress asking for $4.5 billion of funding to deal with increased numbers of...

April 10, 2019

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned from her position on Monday. She was reportedly forced from office after President Trump grew frustrated with the...

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