Family-Based 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 Family-Based Immigration Content

Publication Date: 
April 29, 2021
This report analyzes the most significant changes to the legal immigration system made by the Biden administration during its first 100 days in office, and makes recommendations to foster a fair and...
Publication Date: 
June 11, 2018
Some confusion exists regarding the economic aspects of family-based immigration. To help unpack those aspects, this report focuses on one of them—namely, the earnings of family-based immigrants.
Publication Date: 
March 14, 2013
Since the enactment of the Immigration and Nationality Act in 1965, legal immigration to the United States has been based primarily on the family ties or the work skills of prospective immigrants...
Publication Date: 
January 15, 2010
Reforming our broken immigration system will require us to transform our family-based immigration system, clear out the backlogs, recapture unclaimed family-based visas, reset numerical caps and...
Publication Date: 
May 1, 2007
New legislative proposals to drastically restrict family-based immigration practically ignore the social and economic benefits of the family-based admissions system for both immigrants and the native...
Publication Date: 
December 1, 2006
One question that recently received heightened attention from lawmakers is whether or not immigrants should be admitted to the United States less on the basis of family ties and more on the basis of...
Publication Date: 
May 1, 2005
Given the extent to which undocumented immigrants already living in the United States are part of U.S.-based families, comprehensive immigration reform must include more than just a new temporary...
Last modified: 
March 28, 2024
Publication Date: 
March 28, 2024
The American Immigration Council filed an Amicus Brief with the American Immigration Lawyers Association to challenge the government's theory that judicial review is never available when a consular officer decides to deny a visa application.
Publication Date: 
February 26, 2021
In the amicus brief, the Council and partners reject Calhoun County's position to withhold records that otherwise would be released under the Michigan state FOIA.
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%.
Last modified: 
December 16, 2022
Publication Date: 
December 16, 2022
Practitioners who challenge delays in visa processing often face a motion to dismiss based on the consular nonreviewability doctrine. This practice tip examines the scope of the doctrine. It provides arguments, with supporting documentation, to oppose common situations that the government claims are final, nonreviewable decisions.
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...

April 27, 2023

The Departments of State and Homeland Security announced recently that the Central American Minors (CAM) Program is being expanded, which will allow more children from El Salvador, Honduras, and...

February 25, 2021

President Biden has ended a 10-month ban on immigrant visas—the COVID-19 immigrant visa ban. The Trump administration issued the ban in April 2020 in the name of “protecting” American jobs during...

October 1, 2020

The Trump administration is successfully using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to alter the U.S. system of legal immigration. New government data makes clear that these changes will...

May 5, 2020
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is currently proposing significant changes to the Affidavit of Support (Form I-864), and related forms I-864A and I-864EZ.
February 21, 2020

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been targeting U.S. citizens’ foreign spouses when they apply for legal immigration status. Earlier this month, a federal judge in Maryland put a...

November 8, 2018

Jeff Sessions resigned as Attorney General on Wednesday, less than two years after the Senate narrowly confirmed him to the post. Sessions’ tenure as the nation’s highest-ranking law enforcement...

October 24, 2018

When people feel welcomed into a community, great things often happen that benefit the receiving community and even the nation. When newcomers feel accepted and included in a society, it provides...

August 14, 2018

America’s generosity is reflected in our immigration system. Throughout our nation’s history (with some shameful exceptions), we have allowed individuals to come to the United States to reunite...

June 28, 2018

The Trump administration is quietly attempting to revamp the U.S. immigration system by circumventing Congress and changing the nation’s immigration policies through new federal regulations. The...

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: 
March 28, 2024
Publication Date: 
March 28, 2024
The American Immigration Council filed an Amicus Brief with the American Immigration Lawyers Association to challenge the government's theory that judicial review is never available when a consular officer decides to deny a visa application.
Last modified: 
December 16, 2022
Publication Date: 
December 16, 2022
Practitioners who challenge delays in visa processing often face a motion to dismiss based on the consular nonreviewability doctrine. This practice tip examines the scope of the doctrine. It provides arguments, with supporting documentation, to oppose common situations that the government claims are final, nonreviewable decisions.
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...

April 27, 2023

The Departments of State and Homeland Security announced recently that the Central American Minors (CAM) Program is being expanded, which will allow more children from El Salvador, Honduras, and...

Publication Date: 
December 16, 2021
The American Immigration Council and 13 other organizations urged USCIS to expand premium processing to ensure the agency remains solvent while efficiently and effectively adjudicating all...
coalition_effort_advocates_inclusion_visa_related_provisions_budget_reconciliation_thumbnail
Publication Date: 
November 2, 2021
The Council joined 89 other organizations in a letter calling for Congress to include visa-related provisions in the budget reconciliation.
Publication Date: 
July 21, 2021
The Council led a letter urging the Biden administration to ensure that all immigrant visas are processed up to the numerical limits by September 30, 2021 to avoid the loss of visas and further...
Publication Date: 
April 29, 2021
This report analyzes the most significant changes to the legal immigration system made by the Biden administration during its first 100 days in office, and makes recommendations to foster a fair and...
Publication Date: 
February 26, 2021
In the amicus brief, the Council and partners reject Calhoun County's position to withhold records that otherwise would be released under the Michigan state FOIA.
February 25, 2021

President Biden has ended a 10-month ban on immigrant visas—the COVID-19 immigrant visa ban. The Trump administration issued the ban in April 2020 in the name of “protecting” American jobs during...

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