How the Immigration System Works

The enforcement of immigration laws is a complex and hotly-debated topic. Learn more about the costs of immigration enforcement and the ways in which the U.S. can enforce our immigration laws humanely and in a manner that ensures due process.

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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 12, 2011
In its second year under the Obama Administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—which is responsible for the nation’s three immigration agencies (USCIS, CBP, and ICE)—continues to...
January 1, 2010
While some characterize our immigration crisis as solely an issue of the 11 to 12 million unauthorized...
November 9, 2009
From the Revolutionary War to the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, immigrants have made significant contributions to the United States by serving in our military forces. Today, immigrants...
November 17, 2020

Lawful permanent residents seeking to become U.S. citizens will now be required to take a more difficult and longer citizenship test. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced...

November 12, 2020

This article is part of the Moving Forward on Immigration series that explores the future of immigration in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.  President-elect Joe Biden’s plan on...

October 21, 2020

The application fee to apply for U.S. citizenship was due to rise from $640 to $1170 on October 2. Though the fee hike was temporarily blocked in federal court, this is not the first time U.S....

October 12, 2020

The effort to permanently replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day signifies a growing movement to honor the resilience and history of indigenous communities. The day presents an...

October 7, 2020

The Department of Homeland Security has proposed a rule that would make it much more difficult for U.S. citizens and legal immigrants—especially those experiencing financial hardship—to sponsor...

August 26, 2020

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) told Congress in May that it was running out of money and would need a $1.2 billion bailout to maintain its operations without major disruptions....

July 31, 2020

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) released an advance copy of a final rule on July 31 that will impose significant fee increases across many facets of the legal immigration system...

July 30, 2020

A federal judge in New York has once again put the Trump administration’s “public charge” rule on hold, but only for the duration of the COVID-19 national emergency. This rule, which went into...

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...

July 21, 2020

The Trump administration has justified major changes to citizenship processing to “safeguard” the U.S. immigration system from application fraud. Yet the increased vetting has not lowered the...

August 31, 2021

The Biden administration predicts that it will fail to issue many of the legal permanent resident visas—also known as green cards—allotted this year for immigrants who have been sponsored by a U.S...

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...
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...
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...
July 8, 2021
Current U.S. immigration law provides several paths for foreign workers to enter the United States for employment purposes on a temporary or permanent basis. This fact sheet provides basic...
June 24, 2021
This written statement submitted by the Council to Congress shares our analysis of the archaic U.S. immigration policies which are making the United States a less attractive destination for highly...
May 18, 2021

President Biden revoked a proclamation issued by former President Trump in 2019 that required nearly all prospective immigrants to demonstrate that they would be covered by private health...

March 15, 2021

The Biden administration must improve transparency in the U.S. immigration system. Such efforts go hand in hand with strengthening democratic institutions. Under the Freedom of Information Act (...

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.
January 21, 2021

During his campaign, President Biden promised that immigration reform would be one of his top priorities upon taking office. After unveiling the summary of a sweeping immigration reform bill on...

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