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Understanding the Legal Challenges to Executive Action

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 is expected not only to keep families united, but also to increase U.S. gross domestic product, increase tax revenue, and raise wages.

Like the original DACA initiative, both expanded DACA and DAPA derive from the executive branch’s authority to exercise discretion in the prosecution and enforcement of immigration cases. In both instances, the President has authorized the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to defer for three years the deportation of qualified individuals who pose no threat to the United States in the hope that Congress will finally undertake more permanent, comprehensive immigration reform.

Within hours of the announcement, notorious Maricopa County, Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio challenged the President’s plan to defer deportations in a Washington, D.C., federal court, in a case named Arpaio v. Obama. Shortly thereafter, representatives of 17 states filed a similar case in a Brownsville, Texas, federal court, with 9 other states later joining the lawsuit, in a case named Texas v. United States. On the other hand, a broad spectrum of supporters—including 15 states and the District of Columbia—filed “friend-of-the-court” briefs supporting the President’s plan.Read more...

Published On: Tue, Apr 19, 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 applications for the pool of H-1B visas made available by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on April 1. With a statutory limit of 65,000 visas available for new hires—and 20,000 additional visas for foreign professionals who graduate with a Master’s or Doctorate from a U.S. university—in recent years demand for H-1B visas 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. Read more...

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

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: Thu, Feb 18, 2016 | Download File

Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Welcoming Cities: Lessons from Chicago, Dayton, and Nashville

In the face of America’s changing demographics, future prosperity depends in part upon the ability of local communities to attract and retain a diverse population with diverse sets of skills. In the native-born population, there are fewer births and more retirements. That demographic fact has been compounded by the decline of large manufacturing companies that metropolitan areas relied upon in the past to grow their populations and economies. Increasingly, cities and regions looking to stem population decline and stimulate economic growth are seeking to attract immigrants and encourage immigrant entrepreneurship. Immigrants play an outsize role in establishing “main street” businesses (retail, accommodation and food services, and neighborhood services), which are important for generating neighborhood-level economic growth and revitalization. This propensity to start businesses that revitalize neighborhoods makes immigrants attractive to city leaders. Read more...

Published On: Wed, Feb 03, 2016 | Download File

The EB-5 Visa Program: What It Is and How It Works

The Immigrant Investor Program, also known as “EB-5,” has become an increasingly important source of investment for development projects in the United States, attracting billions of dollars to the U.S. economy and creating tens of thousands of jobs in the United States. However, the program is unlike any other managed by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in that it is the only visa program whose stated purpose is to create jobs and growth. This mandate creates special challenges and opportunities. Read more...

Published On: Tue, Feb 02, 2016 | Download File

Hieleras (Iceboxes) in the Rio Grande Valley Sector

Each year, the Border Patrol—a division of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—holds hundreds of thousands of individuals in detention facilities near the U.S. southern border. These facilities are not designed for overnight custody, and yet they are routinely used in this way. Until recently, CBP policy was clear that these facilities were to serve exclusively as short-term holding cells—meaning that a person should be held there less than 12 hours. Evidence presented in this report, which pertains to Border Patrol holding cells in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) Sector, reveals that, instead, individuals are routinely held for days.


Published On: Thu, Dec 17, 2015 | Download File