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Understanding the Legal Challenges to Executive Action

On June 23, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 4-4 decision in United States v. Texas, the case challenging expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).  This means that a preliminary injunction temporarily halting the implementation of these initiatives stands. This ruling does not impact the original DACA program launched in 2012.  However, it does have a profound and disappointing impact on the millions of would-be eligible immigrants whose lives remain in limbo after the Court’s ruling.

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. 


On November 20 and 21, 2014, President Barack Obama announced a series of administrative reforms of immigration policy, collectively called the Immigration Accountability Executive Action. The centerpiece of these reforms is an expansion of the current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) initiative for the parents of U.S citizens and lawful permanent residents who meet certain criteria. Together, these initiatives could provide as many as 5 million immigrants with temporary relief from deportation. Moreover, DAPA and expanded DACA would not only keep families united, but also increase U.S. gross domestic product, increase tax revenue, and raise wages.Read more...

Published On: Tue, Jun 28, 2016 | Download File

Detained, Deceived, and Deported: Experiences of Recently Deported Central American Families

Over the last few years, the escalation of violence in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala (collectively known as the Northern Triangle of Central America) has reached dramatic levels. Thousands of women and their children have fled and arrived in the United States with the hope of finding protection. But for many of them, their attempts to escape merely resulted in detention, deportation, and extremely difficult reintegration in Central America. In fact, for some, the conditions they face upon being repatriated are worse than those they tried to escape in the first place. Read more...

Published On: Wed, May 18, 2016 | Download File

Understanding the Central American Refugee Crisis: Why They are Fleeing

In the spring and summer of 2014, tens of thousands of women and unaccompanied children from Central America journeyed to the United States seeking asylum. The increase of asylum-seekers, primarily from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala—the countries making up the “Northern Triangle” region—was characterized by President Obama as a “humanitarian crisis.” The situation garnered widespread congressional and media attention, much of it speculating about the cause of the increase and suggesting U.S. responses.


Published On: Tue, May 17, 2016 | Download File

The Exchange Visitor Program and J-1 Visas

The Exchange Visitor Program (EVP) was created as part of the Mutual Educational and Cultural Exchange Act of 1961 (The Fulbright–Hays Act) to allow foreign nationals to temporarily reside in the United States and participate in a variety of education or training programs and to promote cultural exchange between the United States and other countries. The program is grounded in U.S. public diplomacy efforts and its stated purpose is:


Published On: Mon, May 16, 2016 | Download File

Children in Immigration Court: Over 95 Percent Represented by an Attorney Appear in Court

Over the past few years, thousands of children—many fleeing horrific levels of violence in Central America—have arrived at the U.S. border in need of protection. Most children are placed in deportation proceedings before an immigration judge, where they will carry the legal burden of proving that they should be allowed to remain in the United States. The government does not guarantee them the right to a lawyer, even if they are alone (i.e., without a parent) and/or unable to hire one. As a result, many children must navigate the complicated immigration system without legal representation.

These children, many of whom experienced trauma, are new to this country and often do not speak English. They face many obstacles that may prevent them from appearing for their court proceedings, including their lack of understanding of the process and their dependence on adults for transportation. Yet, despite these obstacles, a majority of children do attend their immigration proceedings and the attendance rate is especially high (95 percent) for those who are represented by lawyers.Read more...

Published On: Mon, May 16, 2016 | Download File

Defending DAPA and Expanded DACA Before the Supreme Court

In the spring of 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court will consider United States v. Texas, a politically charged lawsuit about the legality of some of President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration. The initiatives in dispute—expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA)—have been on hold since a district court in Texas issued a preliminary injunction in the case in February 2015. A Supreme Court decision in favor of the United States could clear the way for the initiatives to go forward as early as June 2016. Read more...

Published On: Mon, Apr 11, 2016 | Download File

The Facts about the Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN)

The Individual Tax Identification Number (ITIN) is a tax processing number issued by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to ensure that people – including unauthorized immigrants – pay taxes even if they do not have a Social Security number and regardless of their immigration status. Read more...

Published On: Tue, Apr 05, 2016 | Download File

Adding Up the Billions in Tax Dollars Paid by Undocumented Immigrants

Often lost in political and policy debates about undocumented immigration is a simple yet crucial fact: undocumented immigrants pay taxes. Like everyone else in the United States, they pay sales taxes. They also pay property taxes—even if they rent. As a report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) points out, “the best evidence suggests that at least 50 percent of undocumented immigrant households currently file income tax returns using Individual Tax Identification Numbers (ITINs), and many who do not file income tax returns still have taxes deducted from their paychecks.” The end result is that undocumented immigrants are paying billions of dollars each year in taxes. Moreover, as several studies have found, undocumented immigrants would earn much more, and therefore pay much more in taxes, if they had some sort of legal status, be it permanent or temporary. Not surprisingly, permanent status yields more tax revenue than temporary status. Read more...

Published On: Mon, Apr 04, 2016 | Download File

The H-1B Visa Program: A Primer on the Program and Its Impact on Jobs, Wages, and the Economy

Every year, U.S. employers seeking highly skilled foreign professionals submit their petitions on the first business day in April for the pool of H-1B visa numbers for which U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) controls the allocation. With a statutory limit of 65,000 visa numbers available for new hires—and 20,000 additional visa numbers for foreign professionals who graduate with a Master’s or Doctorate from a U.S. university—in recent years demand for H-1B visa numbers has outstripped the supply and the cap has been reached quickly. This fact sheet provides an overview of the H-1B visa category and petition process, addresses the myths perpetuated about the H-1B visa category, and highlights the key contributions H-1B workers make to the U.S. economy. 


Published On: Fri, Apr 01, 2016 | Download File

DACA at Year Three: Challenges and Opportunities in Accessing Higher Education and Employment

Undocumented immigrant youth represent a largely untapped source of talent. They have gone through the U.S. public school system but, until recently, many have been stymied in their quest for higher education and relevant careers because they have not been eligible for in-state tuition at public colleges and universities, putting higher education out of reach financially. Even for those who could obtain a degree, work in their chosen field was not available to them due to their current status.


Published On: Thu, Feb 25, 2016 | Download File