Skip to Content

Programs:

Legalization

Immigrant Women in the United States: A Portrait of Demographic Diversity

There are more than 20 million immigrant women and girls in the United States today, and they are a formidable presence in U.S. society and the U.S. economy. Immigrant women come from every corner of the globe and slightly outnumber immigrant men. Read more...

Published On: Wed, Sep 10, 2014 | Download File

Asylum in the United States

Asylum is a protection granted to foreign nationals already in the United States or at the border who meet the international definition of a “refugee.” A refugee is defined as a person who has been persecuted or has a well-founded fear of being persecuted “on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.” This definition derives from the United Nations 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocols (“Convention and Protocols”)—international agreements to which the United States is a signatory. Congress incorporated this definition into U.S. immigration law in the Refugee Act of 1980. Also, the Convention and Protocols and U.S. law protect the asylum-seeker from “non-refoulement.” In other words, under international law, a country cannot return or expel people to places where their lives or freedoms could be in jeopardy. Asylum status is granted by asylum officers or immigration judges. In FY 2012, 29,484 individuals were granted asylum.

There are two asylum processes in the United States: the affirmative process and the defensive process.Read more...

Published On: Wed, Aug 27, 2014 | Download File

The President’s Discretion, Immigration Enforcement, and the Rule of Law

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 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Read more...

Published On: Tue, Aug 26, 2014 | Download File

Unauthorized Immigrants Today: A Demographic Profile

With Congress gridlocked on immigration reform, all eyes have turned to the White House to implement administrative reforms that will address some of the consequences of years of legislative stalemates. While it remains to be seen what those fixes will be, the central question—as always—will be what to do about some or all of the estimated 11.7 million unauthorized immigrants now living in the United States. Tackling this issue effectively involves overcoming a common misperception that unauthorized immigrants consist primarily of barely literate, single young men who have recently crossed the southern border and live solitary lives disconnected from U.S. society. The truth, however, is that unauthorized immigrants include adults and children, mothers and fathers, homeowners and people of faith, most of whom are invested in their communities.Read more...

Published On: Tue, Aug 19, 2014 | Download File

Taking Attendance: New Data Finds Majority of Children Appear in Immigration Court

As the number of unaccompanied children arriving at the United States border has increased, some lawmakers have argued that children frequently fail to appear for proceedings and thus proposed mandatory detention as a solution. Some say as many as 90 percent fail to attend their immigration court hearings. Yet government data recently published by Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) indicates the opposite. Not only do a majority of children attend their immigration proceedings, according to TRAC, but 90 percent or more attend when represented by lawyers. Read more...

Published On: Tue, Jul 29, 2014 | Download File

Children in Danger: A Guide to the Humanitarian Challenge at the Border

The American Immigration Council has prepared this guide in order to provide policymakers, the media, and the public with basic information surrounding the current humanitarian challenge the U.S. is facing as thousands of young migrants show up at our southern border. This guide seeks to explain the basics. Who are the unaccompanied children and why are they coming? What basic protections are they entitled to by law? What happens to unaccompanied children once they are in U.S. custody? What has the government done so far? What additional responses have been proposed to address this issue? Read more...

Published On: Thu, Jul 10, 2014 | Download File

No Childhood Here: Why Central American Children are Fleeing Their Homes

Over a decade before President Barack Obama described the influx of unaccompanied child migrants to the United States as an “urgent humanitarian situation requiring a unified and coordinated Federal response,” child and refugee advocates warned that children who shared experiences of years-long family separation, widespread violence in home countries, and higher rates of neglect and abuse were fleeing from South of our border in alarming numbers. Then as now, over 95 percent were from Mexico and the Central American nations of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. When these children were apprehended in the U.S., the Trafficking and Victim’s Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA) required agents to ask limited and straightforward abuse questions. If the child was determined to be without a parent or legal guardian, s/he had to be transferred to Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) care within 72 hours.

Read more...

Published On: Tue, Jul 01, 2014 | Download File

Two Years and Counting: Assessing the Growing Power of DACA

This week marks the two-year anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program, first initiated by President Obama on June 15, 2012.  This research brief presents current findings from the National UnDACAmented Research Project (NURP) national survey on the impact that DACA has had on some of the young people who have received it.

Read more...

Published On: Mon, Jun 16, 2014 | Download File

Mexican and Central American Asylum and Credible Fear Claims: Background and Context

Carlos Gutierrez, a successful businessman in Chihuahua, Mexico, and the married father of two, refused to comply with a criminal cartel’s monthly demands of $10,000. In retribution for his refusal and as an example to other businessmen, his feet were cut off and he was left for dead. According to his former attorney, that kind of “organized crime is not possible without the complicity of the municipal, state and federal police.”

Read more...

Published On: Wed, May 21, 2014 | Download File

No Action Taken: Lack of CBP Accountability in Responding to Complaints of Abuse

Data obtained by the American Immigration Council shine a light on the lack of accountability and transparency which afflicts the U.S. Border Patrol and its parent agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The data, which the Immigration Council acquired through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, covers 809 complaints of alleged abuse lodged against Border Patrol agents between January 2009 and January 2012. These cases run the gamut of physical, sexual, and verbal abuse. Although it is not possible to determine which cases had merit and which did not, it is astonishing that, among those cases in which a formal decision was issued, 97 percent resulted in “No Action Taken.” On average, CBP took 122 days to arrive at a decision when one was made. Moreover, among all complaints, 40 percent were still “pending investigation” when the complaint data were provided to the Immigration Council.Read more...

Published On: Sun, May 04, 2014