This Week in Immigration - American Immigration Council

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Updated: 2 hours 58 min ago

ICE’s Changes to Family Detention Are an Improvement but Don’t Go Far Enough

March 2, 2021 - 12:13

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced last week that it would make changes to two family detention centers in Texas that would result in families spending less time in detention. The agency states that the facilities will be turned into “reception centers,” where families receive COVID-19 tests, arrange travel to their destination, and are […]

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A Federal Defender System for Immigrants Is Long Overdue

February 26, 2021 - 16:45

The stakes in immigration court could not be higher—many people face the possibility of being permanently torn away from their families and communities in the United States. Others seeking protection in the U.S. risk being forced back to dangerous conditions in their home countries. Despite these extraordinarily high stakes, immigrants are not entitled to publicly […]

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President Biden Ends Part of Trump’s Ban on Legal Immigration

February 25, 2021 - 17:18

President Biden has ended a 10-month ban on immigrant visas—the COVID-19 immigrant visa ban. The Trump administration issued the ban in April 2020 in the name of “protecting” American jobs during the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The real purpose was not to provide any meaningful economic benefit, but to achieve the largescale […]

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What Are the Benefits of the J-1 Visa?

February 25, 2021 - 12:37

Over the past year, sweeping orders have banned many non-immigrant visa holders from entering the United States. The COVID-19 pandemic gave many former Trump administration officials the opportunity to restrict immigration based on fears surrounding the spread of the coronavirus and U.S. unemployment and immigration. The extended executive order—in effect until March 31—has consequently kept […]

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Why Has Immigration Become Such a Divisive Issue?

February 22, 2021 - 17:44

Why has immigration become such a heated issue for those on the right and the left? It’s because many Americans have—without realizing it—sacralized their values and beliefs associated with immigration. This explains in part why the debate has become uncompromising and moralized. What can we do about it? Answers can be found in a new […]

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New ICE Enforcement Priorities Represent an Important Shift, But More Change Is Needed

February 19, 2021 - 17:17

For years, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has taken a harsh, punitive approach that has ripped families and communities apart. The Trump administration’s approach was particularly cruel and xenophobic, resulting in the highest detention numbers the United States has ever seen. ICE’s new enforcement priorities hopefully signal an important turn from the hate-driven enforcement […]

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In a Win for Transparency, Court Orders Board of Immigration Appeals to Make Immigration Court Decisions Public

February 18, 2021 - 18:48

The Second Circuit has found that the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) must publish immigration decisions, reversing an earlier federal district court decision. The case challenged the Department of Justice’s longstanding practice of failing to publish immigration decisions by the BIA—the highest administrative court deciding immigration cases—in any forum that could be easily accessed by […]

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DHS Strikes Down Trump Deal with ICE Union, Paving the Way for Biden’s Changes to Immigration Enforcement

February 17, 2021 - 18:01

Just days before it was due to take effect, the Biden administration has struck down a last-minute deal made between the Trump administration and the union for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The agreement would have given ICE’s union the authority to veto President Biden’s immigration enforcement policies. The union—which endorsed Trump for president […]

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Biden Administration Unveils Plan to Process Asylum Seekers Subject to the Migrant Protection Protocols

February 12, 2021 - 18:21

The Trump administration sent over 70,000 people who came to the U.S border seeking asylum back to Mexico to wait for court hearings. This so-called “Migrant Protection Protocols” (“MPP”) program placed people in serious danger and made it nearly impossible for anyone to win protection. Court hearings under MPP were indefinitely suspended in March 2020. […]

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The Border Patrol’s Culture of Racism Impacts Every Facet of the Agency Today

February 11, 2021 - 18:47

The U.S. Border Patrol has been rooted in institutional racism since its founding in 1924. Almost a century later, the agency continues to commit racially fueled violent acts with near impunity. The American Immigration Council details this history in a new report, The Legacy of Racism within the U.S. Border Patrol. Here are five key […]

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Biden Administration Ends ‘Safe Third Country’ Agreements

February 8, 2021 - 18:27

For more than 40 years, the law has guaranteed any person who is physically present in the United States a right to seek asylum. In 2019 the Trump administration attempted to effectively eliminate that law by signing so-called “Asylum Cooperative Agreements” (ACAs) with Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. On February 6, the Biden administration fulfilled […]

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The Biden Administration Is Already Supporting Employment-Based Immigration, But Uncertainty Remains

February 5, 2021 - 19:06

Business immigration has already benefited from the change in administrations. On January 25, President Biden issued an executive order directly replacing a Trump-era executive order that wreaked havoc on the H-1B visa category. Biden’s ‘Made in America’ Order The recent executive order adopted “Buy American” policies and revoked President Trump’s “Buy American Hire American” (BAHA) […]

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Biden Took 3 More Executive Actions on Immigration. Did He Go Far Enough?

February 3, 2021 - 11:46

On February 2, 2021, following the confirmation of Alejandro Mayorkas as secretary of Homeland Security, President Biden signed three executive orders that take steps to further unwind the Trump administration’s restrictions on immigration. The actions build on Biden’s first round of immigration changes, which he signed on Inauguration Day. Here is a summary of the […]

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No Need to Wait for Congress to Begin Using Humanizing Language in the Immigration Space

February 1, 2021 - 18:48

The Biden administration’s immigration reform bill will have a provision that seeks to replace the term “alien” with “noncitizen” in immigration law. The term “alien” in the Immigration and Nationality Act refers to any person who is not a citizen or national of the United States. It dates back to 1798 when it was first […]

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Immigrants Appear for Their Court Hearings, New Data Shows

January 28, 2021 - 19:11

Do most immigrants show up for their immigration court hearings? A new report released by the American Immigration Council reveals that the answer to this question is a clear “Yes.” As the Biden administration begins its overhaul of the immigration enforcement system, we must ensure that our policies are based on facts. The report makes […]

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What You Need to Know About Biden’s Deportation Moratorium

January 26, 2021 - 19:25

In a blow to the Biden administration, a federal judge in Texas has ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) not to enforce its moratorium on deportations. President Biden had instructed DHS to halt deportations for 100 days while undergoing a complete review of all immigration enforcement policies. The temporary restraining order will remain in […]

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Why Biden Must Dismantle the Migrant Protection Protocols Now

January 25, 2021 - 18:17

January 29, 2021 marks the two-year anniversary of the Trump administration’s so-called “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP), informally known as “Remain in Mexico.” Asylum seekers and advocates are using the occasion to call for an end to the program, which has prevented thousands of people from accessing a meaningful opportunity to seek asylum. Under MPP, many […]

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Biden Took Several Administrative Actions on Immigration. Here’s What You Need to Know.

January 22, 2021 - 19:06

On his first day in office, President Biden took significant steps towards undoing the harm of the Trump administration’s immigration policies—and reforming our punitive and inhumane enforcement system. In response to years of work by immigrants and advocates, Biden quickly signed a series of executive actions related to immigration. Here is a summary of eight […]

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Why Biden’s Immigration Bill Is the Boldest in Decades

January 21, 2021 - 18:07

During his campaign, President Biden promised that immigration reform would be one of his top priorities upon taking office. After unveiling the summary of a sweeping immigration reform bill on Inauguration Day, the Biden administration appears to have kept that promise. If passed, the bill will provide a pathway to legal status for most of […]

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New Leadership Strikes a New Tone for America

January 20, 2021 - 18:12

America turned a corner today. We not only installed new leadership, but these leaders set a distinctively new tone for the next four years. A president is a political and policy leader, but he or she is also our conductor-in-chief, coordinating the timing and performance of government agencies and setting the direction and tempo of […]

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