Immigration Benefits and Relief

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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...
May 14, 2012
How Gaps in ICE's Prosecutorial Discretion Policy Affect Immigrants Without Legal Representation While the Obama administration’s has expanded use of prosecutorial discretion in immigration cases,...
April 11, 2012
Discretion takes many forms throughout the immigration enforcement process. Every removal of a noncitizen from the United States, for example, reflects a series of complex choices which reflect...
December 15, 2011
Immigration law is highly complex. Determining which non-citizens are “lawfully” or “unlawfully” present and whether they should be allowed to stay in the United States are complex matters which...
July 20, 2011
On June 17, 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton issued two significant memoranda on the use of prosecutorial discretion in immigration matters. Prosecutorial...
December 2, 2010
Each year, tens of thousands of undocumented immigrant students graduate from American high schools and embark on uncertain futures. Their inability to legally work and receive financial aid stalls...
December 1, 2010
On June 30, 2010, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), John Morton, issued a memo to the agency that reflected the Obama administration’s oft repeated intent...
October 3, 2013
One requirement of the age-preservation formula of the CSPA is that the beneficiary must have “sought to acquire” lawful permanent resident status within one year of the visa becoming available. INA § 203(h)(1). The Council’s amicus brief argued for a more expansive interpretation of “sought to acquire” than the BIA’s interpretation in Matter of O. Vasquez, 25 I&N Dec. 817 (BIA 2012). On July 23, 2014, the court issued a decision upholding the Board’s interpretation but remanding the case after finding that, under the facts presented, the retroactive application of Matter of O. Vasquez to the petitioner would work a manifest injustice. Velasquez-Garcia v. Holder, 760 F.3d 571 (7th Cir. 2014).
September 3, 2008
Following DHS's adoption of an interim regulation that gave USCIS jurisdiction over the adjustment application of an "arriving alien" in removal proceedings, the Council filed amicus briefs with the BIA and Federal Courts challenging the BIA's general refusal to reopen removal proceedings so that an "arriving alien" with an unexecuted final order could adjust with USCIS. The BIA rejected our arguments in Matter of Yauri, 25 I&N Dec. 103 (BIA 2009). Meanwhile, however, USCIS made clear that it retained jurisdiction over these cases despite the final order.
February 24, 2005
The Council filed amicus briefs in numerous courts of appeals challenging the pre-2005 regulatory bar to adjustment of status for “arriving aliens” in removal proceedings. Several courts accepted our arguments that the regulation violated the adjustment of status statute. Succar v. Ashcroft, 394 F.3d 8 (1st Cir. 2005); Zheng v. Gonzales, 422 F.3d 98 (3d Cir. 2005); Bona v. Ashcroft, 425 F.3d 663 (9th Cir. 2005). Ultimately, DHS withdrew the challenged regulation and replaced it with one providing USCIS with jurisdiction to adjust the status of an "arriving alien" in removal proceedings. 71 Fed. Reg. 27585 (2006). The amicus brief filed in Bona v. Ashcroft is representative of the briefs filed in other circuits.
The American Immigration Council along with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, Educators For Fair Consideration, the National Immigration Law Center, United We Dream, and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. offered comments in response to DHS’s proposed new DACA application form and instructions.
The American Immigration Council along with American Immigration Lawyers Association, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, National Council of La Raza, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, and United We Dream, submitted proposals to USCIS seeking certain modifications to the DACA Frequently Asked Questions page.
The American Immigration Council along with American Immigration Lawyers Association, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, National Immigration Law Center, National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, New York Immigration Coalition, and United We Dream, submitted proposals to USCIS seeking certain modifications to the DACA Frequently Asked Questions page.
The American Immigration Council, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., and the National Immigration Law Center welcomed changes made by USCIS, but encouraged several additional changes to Form I-821D and the accompanying instructions to make it more understandable and accessible to DACA requesters, particularly those requesters who are unrepresented.
The American Immigration Council, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. jointly submitted comments addressing numerous aspects of the Form I-131 instructions including revisions to the instructions that provide guidance to DACA recipients on their eligibility for Advance Parole.
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...

October 23, 2013
Section 336(b) of the INA, 8 U.S.C. § 1447(b), gives a district court jurisdiction to intervene in a case where USCIS has failed to make a decision on the naturalization application within 120 days of the applicant’s “examination” by USCIS. This Practice Advisory discusses the nuts and bolts of bringing a suit under INA § 336(b). It also discusses when attorneys fees under the Equal Access to Justice Act are available.
August 5, 2013
On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in United States v. Windsor, holding that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. This practice advisory highlights some of the issues LGBT families will face in a post-DOMA world.
May 2, 2013
In Moncrieffe, the Supreme Court held that a state drug conviction is not an aggravated felony when the statute of conviction extends to the social sharing of a small amount of marijuana. This Practice Advisory discusses the holding of the case, the decision’s potential broader implications, strategies for noncitizen criminal defendants, and steps that lawyers should take immediately in pending or already concluded removal proceedings affected by Moncrieffe.
December 21, 2012
This Practice Advisory contains practical and legal suggestions for individuals seeking to return to the United States after they have prevailed on a petition for review or an administrative motion to reopen or reconsider to the immigration court or Board of Immigration Appeals.
December 16, 2011
This Practice Advisory describes the Supreme Court’s decision in Judulang v. Holder, which rejected the BIA's "comparable grounds" test for § 212(c) relief, and offers strategies for lawful permanent residents and others who may be affected by it.
March 31, 2010
There are two main situations where individuals who were ordered removed or deported in absentia can reopen their cases: (1) they did not receive notice of the hearing, and (2) they did not appear at their hearing because of exceptional circumstances. This Practice Advisory addresses the elements and requirements for an in absentia motion to reopen in both contexts.
December 26, 2008

This Q&A informs lawyers about some of the most important aspects of the December 18, 2008 voluntary departure rules adopted by Executive Office for Immigration Review.

April 20, 2005
This Practice Advisory addresses situations in which a court might excuse a late-filed petition for review and discusses other administrative and federal court options for remedying the failure to timely file a petition for review. The Advisory also provides an overview of 28 U.S.C. § 1631, which authorizes courts to transfer a case to cure a lack of jurisdiction when an action is filed in the wrong federal court.
April 6, 2005
On April 1, 2005, EOIR’s Background and Security Check regulations went into effect. The interim rule bars IJs and the BIA from granting most forms of relief until DHS has informed them that security checks are completed. This Practice Advisory provides basic information about the requirements and procedures under the interim rule and highlights the major changes to BIA procedures.
October 19, 2004
Pursuant to the Supreme Court’s decision INS v. St. Cyr, the Department of Justice (DOJ) published its final rule on procedures for applying for section 212(c) relief. This Practice Advisory summarizes the rule and describes who can apply for § 212(c) relief under the rule. In addition, it discusses strategies and arguments to assist individuals who are barred under the rule.
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...

May 4, 2018

Nearly 60,000 Hondurans learned today that they will no longer be able to remain in the United States with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), placing them at risk of deportation when termination...

March 23, 2018

This week Congress passed a $1.3 trillion bill to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year, running through September 30, 2018. Though the legislation includes record levels of...

March 21, 2018

Legal immigration and the number of foreigners visiting the United States has taken a serious hit within the last year, as the Trump administration makes changes to policies and procedures without...

March 15, 2018

While much of the national immigration conversation has focused on the fate of Dreamers and those with Temporary Protected Status, a little-known protection provided to Liberians is on the brink...

November 21, 2014

Washington D.C. - Ben Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council offers the following quotes on the polic

November 6, 2014

Washington D.C. – From the perspective of immigration reformers, Tuesday’s election is unlikely to change the gridlock that has stymied immigration reform for more than 15 years.

July 29, 2014

Last week, the federal district court issued its final approval of a settlement agreement

July 20, 2014

Washington D.C. - After decades of congressional neglect, tonight President Obama took a crucial and courageous step toward reforming our immigration system.

May 22, 2014

On May 19, 2014, the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) filed an amicus curiae brief urging the Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit to

March 13, 2014

Last week, the American Immigration Council and Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) filed an amicus curiae brief urging the court to find that noncitizens granted Temporary Protect

November 6, 2013

Washington, D.C.—This week, the American Immigration Council filed an amicus curiae

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...

May 4, 2018

Nearly 60,000 Hondurans learned today that they will no longer be able to remain in the United States with Temporary Protected Status (TPS), placing them at risk of deportation when termination...

March 23, 2018

This week Congress passed a $1.3 trillion bill to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year, running through September 30, 2018. Though the legislation includes record levels of...

March 21, 2018

Legal immigration and the number of foreigners visiting the United States has taken a serious hit within the last year, as the Trump administration makes changes to policies and procedures without...

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