Asylum

The U.S. immigration system is complex and can be difficult to understand. These resources provide key data points, historical information, and background on hot topics in immigration. Learn the basics about immigration.

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All Asylum Content

May 14, 2018
Asylum seekers must navigate a difficult and complex process that can involve multiple government agencies. This fact sheet provides an overview of the asylum system in the United States, including...
May 9, 2017
Detained asylum seekers encounter numerous challenges, including the following problems detailed in this report.
February 3, 2017
Expedited removal is a process by which low-level immigration officers can quickly deport certain noncitizens who are undocumented or have committed fraud or misrepresentation.
May 18, 2016
First-hand accounts from Central American women and their family members reveal the dangerous and bleak circumstances of life these women and their children faced upon return to their home countries...
July 22, 2015

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...

May 21, 2014
This paper addresses these issues, summarizes the concerns and experiences of numerous advocates in the field, and concludes that the credible fear and asylum process poses obstacles for applicants...
May 7, 2012
With approximately 19 million immigrant women and girls in the United States, nearly half of the foreign-born population is female. Unfortunately, many of these immigrant women, particularly those...
February 1, 2005
The efficiency of the asylum program depends in large part on a fully staffed and adequately funded Asylum Corps that evaluates asylum claims thoroughly and expeditiously.
December 3, 2018
In Matter of Negusie, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions referred to himself the question of whether coercion and duress are relevant to the application of the immigration statute’s persecutor bar for individuals seeking asylum or withholding of removal
September 18, 2018

The American Immigration Council and American Immigration Lawyers Association submitted a written statement to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and...

This case challenges the punitive practice of keeping asylum seekers in custody for weeks or months without access to credible fear interviews or bond hearings and the lack of basic procedural protections—like hearing transcripts and written decisions—in bond hearings, as well as whether asylum seekers must bear the burden of proof in bond proceedings.
August 23, 2018

The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy led to not only to the forcible separation of thousands of children from their parents, but the extreme duress and coercion of...

July 31, 2018
The American Immigration Council submitted a written statement to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for a July 31, 2018 hearing on “Oversight of Immigration Enforcement and Family Reunification Efforts.”
In the year and a half since the FOIA request was filed, CBP largely failed to provide any records in response to the request. On June 11, 2018, the Council, represented by O’Melveny & Myers LLP, filed a lawsuit to compel DHS and CBP to comply with FOIA and to release additional records related to the 2016 request.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers all too frequently deny individuals fleeing persecution and torture their right to seek protection in the United States, issue summary removal orders against them, and then falsify documents to support their illegal actions.
May 22, 2018

The American Immigration Council submitted a written statement to the House Homeland Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security for a May 22, 2018 hearing on “Stopping the Daily Border Caravan:...

The requests ask for policies, guidelines, or procedures followed or used by immigration enforcement regarding the treatment of pregnant individuals in custody and any system used to track and monitor pregnant detainees.
April 18, 2018

The American Immigration Council submitted a written statement to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration for an April 18, 2018 hearing on “Strengthening and Reforming...

December 20, 2017
This practice advisory describes USCIS’ position and offers practical suggestions for filing asylum applications that USCIS is likely to reject for lack of jurisdiction.
September 5, 2017
This Practice Advisory is designed to assist attorneys in determining whether individuals seeking Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals might be eligible for immigration benefits.
February 21, 2017

This Practice Advisory addresses the coming expansion of expedited removal, who likely will be impacted, and possible ways to challenge an expedited removal order. The National Immigration Project...

December 1, 2015
The immigration courts’ unprecedented backlogs are creating procedural and substantive challenges for attorneys trying to comply with the One-Year Filing Deadline (OYFD) in asylum cases. This Practice Advisory discusses strategies and procedures for complying with the OYFD.
March 18, 2015
This Practice Advisory, updated following the issuance of Secretary Johnson’s November 20, 2014 memorandum on Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants, explains what prosecutorial discretion is, who has authority to exercise it, and how it is exercised most often in immigration cases. It also suggests ways that attorneys can influence the favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion by ICE, CBP and USCIS officers.
February 5, 2014
The American Immigration Council’s Practice Advisory, Employment Authorization and Asylum: Strategies to Avoid Stopping the Asylum Clock, has been updated to reflect extensive changes to the manner in which the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) determine an asylum applicant’s eligibility for an Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
December 21, 2012
This Practice Advisory contains practical and legal suggestions for individuals seeking to return to the United States after they have prevailed on a petition for review or an administrative motion to reopen or reconsider to the immigration court or Board of Immigration Appeals.
December 14, 2018

A federal court in Seattle on Tuesday permitted a case challenging unlawful delays in asylum screening interviews and bond hearings for asylum seekers to move forward over the government’s...

December 4, 2018

New estimates indicate that the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States continues a decade-long decline, standing at about 10.7 million as of 2016 (down from 12.2 million in 2007)....

December 3, 2018

Following Jeff Sessions’ resignation as Attorney General, President Trump named Matthew Whitaker to replace him—a move that has already inspired multiple lawsuits that contend the designation was...

November 30, 2018

Thousands of migrant children are currently being held at a tent city in Tornillo, Texas along the U.S.-Mexico border. Most of the children traveled alone in order to flee from violence in their...

November 29, 2018

Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez, a 33-year-old transgender woman from Honduras, died in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody in May, weeks after presenting herself at the San Ysidro...

November 26, 2018

The situation in Tijuana, Mexico reached a boiling point on Sunday, after U.S. authorities fired tear gas at hundreds of migrants—including pregnant women and children—who had peacefully gathered...

November 20, 2018

Ruling in a lawsuit late Monday night, a federal judge in San Francisco put the Trump administration’s asylum ban—an unprecedented move that barred asylum to any individual crossing the Southern...

November 19, 2018

After a summer in which almost 3,000 migrant children were separated from their parents at the border, the Trump administration admitted last week that it was holding a record number of children...

November 9, 2018

In response to a much over-hyped caravan of migrants slowly trekking north through Mexico, the Trump administration announced new rules to block people from applying for asylum if they cross...

November 6, 2018

As Americans go to the polls, many will also be taking part in another form of government participation—submitting comments on the Trump administration’s proposal to expand family detention for...

December 13, 2018
A federal district court in Seattle, Washington issued an order rejecting the government’s arguments that recent asylum seekers who enter the United States without immigration status are not entitled to constitutional protections.
December 3, 2018
The American Immigration Council and other immigrant rights organizations filed a legal brief on Friday that explains why President Donald Trump’s designation of Matthew G. Whitaker as acting attorney general is unlawful. As a result, the brief asserts, Whitaker lacks the authority to decide a critical immigration case.
November 8, 2018
The Trump administration revealed today a new interim final regulation that restricts access to asylum at the border, causing chaos and uncertainty for many seeking protection.
October 16, 2018
In a new court filing, asylum seekers and an immigrant rights group are challenging the Trump administration’s policy and practice of turning back asylum seekers at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border
September 21, 2018
Yesterday, plaintiffs in an ongoing lawsuit challenging the U.S. government’s targeted efforts to obstruct asylum seekers filed a motion for preliminary injunction demanding timely bond hearings that comport with due process.
August 23, 2018
The complaint points to numerous examples, including that of Mrs. D.P., who was separated from her 9-year-old daughter for 47 days as a result of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' "zero-tolerance" border policy.
June 11, 2018
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced today that he is taking away a vital lifeline to victims of severe domestic and gang violence. Sessions issued a decision unilaterally overruling important precedent recognizing that such individuals may qualify for asylum in the United States.
June 7, 2018
José Crespo Cagnant filed a lawsuit to hold the government accountable for abusive, unlawful conduct and depriving him of an opportunity to apply for asylum.
May 7, 2018
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting Director Thomas Homan announced today that the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security will be stepping up prosecutions of individuals along the southern border—likely resulting in the criminalization of asylum seekers and more family separation.
May 3, 2018
Through this request, the organizations seek more information regarding the treatment of pregnant individuals held in Immigration and Custom Enforcement custody and any system used to track and monitor pregnant detainees.
December 14, 2018

A federal court in Seattle on Tuesday permitted a case challenging unlawful delays in asylum screening interviews and bond hearings for asylum seekers to move forward over the government’s...

December 13, 2018
A federal district court in Seattle, Washington issued an order rejecting the government’s arguments that recent asylum seekers who enter the United States without immigration status are not entitled to constitutional protections.
December 4, 2018

New estimates indicate that the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States continues a decade-long decline, standing at about 10.7 million as of 2016 (down from 12.2 million in 2007)....

December 3, 2018

Following Jeff Sessions’ resignation as Attorney General, President Trump named Matthew Whitaker to replace him—a move that has already inspired multiple lawsuits that contend the designation was...

December 3, 2018
The American Immigration Council and other immigrant rights organizations filed a legal brief on Friday that explains why President Donald Trump’s designation of Matthew G. Whitaker as acting attorney general is unlawful. As a result, the brief asserts, Whitaker lacks the authority to decide a critical immigration case.
December 3, 2018
In Matter of Negusie, former Attorney General Jeff Sessions referred to himself the question of whether coercion and duress are relevant to the application of the immigration statute’s persecutor bar for individuals seeking asylum or withholding of removal
November 30, 2018

Thousands of migrant children are currently being held at a tent city in Tornillo, Texas along the U.S.-Mexico border. Most of the children traveled alone in order to flee from violence in their...

November 29, 2018

Roxsana Hernández Rodriguez, a 33-year-old transgender woman from Honduras, died in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody in May, weeks after presenting herself at the San Ysidro...

November 26, 2018

The situation in Tijuana, Mexico reached a boiling point on Sunday, after U.S. authorities fired tear gas at hundreds of migrants—including pregnant women and children—who had peacefully gathered...

November 20, 2018

Ruling in a lawsuit late Monday night, a federal judge in San Francisco put the Trump administration’s asylum ban—an unprecedented move that barred asylum to any individual crossing the Southern...

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