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Special Reports

Our most in-depth publication, Special Reports provide detailed analyses of special topics in U.S. immigration policy.

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

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.

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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.

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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

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.

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

Enforcement Overdrive: A Comprehensive Assessment of ICE’s Criminal Alien Program

The Criminal Alien Program (CAP) is a massive enforcement program administered by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and has become the primary channel through which interior immigration enforcement takes place. Between two-thirds and three-quarters of individuals removed from the interior of the United States are removed through CAP. Each year, Congress allocates hundreds of millions of dollars to fund this program. Until now, however, little has been known about how CAP works, whom CAP deports, and whether CAP has been effective in meeting its goals.

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Published On: Mon, Nov 02, 2015 | Download File

A Humane Approach Can Work: The Effectiveness of Alternatives to Detention for Asylum Seekers

For decades, the U.S. refugee protection system has been a symbol of the nation’s generosity and openness to the world’s persecuted. Yet since Congress’ enactment of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA), asylum seekers arriving at the United States-Mexico border have been subject to mandatory detention and summary deportation processes, resulting in the deportation of countless persons in need of protection. Read more...

Published On: Wed, Jul 22, 2015 | Download File

The Criminalization of Immigration in the United States

For more than a century, innumerable studies have confirmed two simple yet powerful truths about the relationship between immigration and crime: immigrants are less likely to commit serious crimes or be behind bars than the native-born, and high rates of immigration are associated with lower rates of violent crime and property crime. This holds true for both legal immigrants and the unauthorized, regardless of their country of origin or level of education. In other words, the overwhelming majority of immigrants are not “criminals” by any commonly accepted definition of the term. For this reason, harsh immigration policies are not effective in fighting crime. Read more...

Published On: Wed, Jul 08, 2015 | Download File

A Guide to Children Arriving at the Border: Laws, Policies and Responses

The American Immigration Council is updating this Guide which was first issued in summer 2014. It provides information about the tens of thousands of children—some travelling with their parents and others alone—who have fled their homes in Central America and arrived at our southern border. Read more...

Published On: Fri, Jun 26, 2015 | Download File