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Just the Facts

Immigration Fact Checks provide up-to-date information on the most current issues involving immigration today.

Way Too Long: Prolonged Detention in Border Patrol Holding Cells, Government Records Show

Each year, the Border Patrol, a division of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), holds hundreds of thousands of people in detention facilities near the southern border that are extremely cold, frequently overcrowded, and routinely lacking in adequate food, water, medical care, and access to legal counsel. Although CBP intends these facilities only for short-term detention—meaning that a person should be held there less than 12 hours—data obtained by the American Immigration Council through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) shows that the Border Patrol regularly uses them to detain people for prolonged periods. Over 80 percent of people detained by the Border Patrol in its Tucson Sector are held for over 24 hours, meaning that men, women and children are forced to sleep on concrete floors and hard benches in holding cells that lack beds and are not equipped for sleeping. 

Border Patrol Holding Cells: An Overview

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2014, the Border Patrol apprehended 479,371 individuals along the U.S.-Mexico border. Typically, when Border Patrol agents apprehend an individual near the southern border, they confine that individual in a holding cell while they complete his or her initial processing. After processing, detained individuals are released, repatriated to their home countries via formal removal or informal return, or transferred to the custody of another federal agency.   Read more...

Published On: Wed, Jun 10, 2015 | Download File

Empty Benches: Underfunding of Immigration Courts Undermines Justice

Among many longstanding problems plaguing the U.S. immigration system is the shortage of immigration judges. Over the past decade, Congress has increased immigration enforcement funding exponentially, yet has not provided the immigration courts commensurate funding to handle the hundreds of thousands of new removal cases they receive each year. The resulting backlog has led to average hearing delays of over a year and a half, with serious adverse consequences. Backlogs and delays benefit neither immigrants nor the government—keeping those with valid claims in limbo and often in detention, delaying removal of those without valid claims, and calling into question the integrity of the immigration justice system.

Dramatic Immigration Enforcement Spending Increases, Without Commensurate Court Resource Increases, Have Placed Extraordinary Burdens on the Courts

Over the last decade, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) immigration enforcement resources have increased dramatically (Figure 1):

  • Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) combined spending increased 105 percent from Fiscal Year (FY) 2003 to FY 2015, from $9.1 billion to approximately $18.7 billion.
  • Moreover, the federal government increasingly leveraged state law-enforcement resources for immigration enforcement through programs like Secure Communities and 287(g).

In contrast, as increased enforcement has contributed to immigration court backlogs, court funding has not kept pace (Figure 1):Read more...

Published On: Thu, May 21, 2015 | 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 quickly reached. This fact sheet provides an overview of the H-1B visa category and petition process, addresses the myths perpetuated around the H-1B visa category, and highlights the key contributions H-1B workers make to the U.S. economy. Read more...

Published On: Wed, Apr 01, 2015 | Download File

Understanding Initial Legal Challenges to Immigration Accountability 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. These reforms center on plans to expand eligibility for the current Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative, and to create a 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. Both 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 comprehensive, more permanent 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.Read more...

Published On: Thu, Mar 12, 2015 | Download File

Only the Beginning: The Economic Potential of Executive Action on Immigration

The series of executive actions on immigration which President Obama announced on November 20, 2014, would have a beneficial—if modest—impact on the U.S. economy. Specifically, the president’s actions are likely to increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP), reduce the federal deficit, and raise both tax revenue and average wages—all without having any appreciable impact on native-born employment. Most, though not all, of these economic gains would flow from two actions in particular: creation of a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program, which would grant temporary relief from deportation, as well as work authorization, to some unauthorized parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents; and expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which offers relief from deportation and work authorization to qualified young adults who were brought to the United States as children. However, research suggests that comprehensive immigration reform legislation would yield even greater economic benefits than the programs created through executive action. Read more...

Published On: Wed, Mar 11, 2015 | Download File

Immigration Executive Action Impact on the States: North Dakota

The series of executive actions on immigration, which President Obama announced on November 20, 2014, promises to benefit the U.S. economy.  Most, though not all, of these economic gains would flow from the two deferred action initiatives:  Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), which will grant temporary relief from deportation and work authorization to some unauthorized parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents; and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which offers the same relief to qualified young adults who were brought to the United States as children. This fact sheet provides a snapshot of what executive action will mean for North Dakota, including the potential number of applicants for the deferred action initiatives, and the economic benefits DAPA and DACA will bring to the state. The fact sheet also provides background on the immigrant, Latino, and Asian population in North Dakota and their current contributions to the state’s economy. 

Estimates of the population eligible to participate in executive action programs represent only a small portion of the total number of immigrants in North Dakota.   Read more...

Published On: Tue, Mar 10, 2015 | Download File

Immigration Executive Action Impact on the States: Ohio

The series of executive actions on immigration, which President Obama announced on November 20, 2014, promises to benefit the U.S. economy.  Most, though not all, of these economic gains would flow from the two deferred action initiatives:  Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), which will grant temporary relief from deportation and work authorization to some unauthorized parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents; and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which offers the same relief to qualified young adults who were brought to the United States as children. This fact sheet provides a snapshot of what executive action will mean for Ohio, including the potential number of applicants for the deferred action initiatives, and the economic benefits DAPA and DACA will bring to the state. The fact sheet also provides background on the immigrant, Latino, and Asian population in Ohio and their current contributions to the state’s economy. 

Estimates of the population eligible to participate in executive action programs vary, but represent only a small portion of the total number of immigrants in Ohio.  Read more...

Published On: Tue, Mar 10, 2015 | Download File

Immigration Executive Action Impact on the States: Maine

The series of executive actions on immigration, which President Obama announced on November 20, 2014, promises to benefit the U.S. economy.  Most, though not all, of these economic gains would flow from the two deferred action initiatives:  Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), which will grant temporary relief from deportation and work authorization to some unauthorized parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents; and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which offers the same relief to qualified young adults who were brought to the United States as children. This fact sheet provides a snapshot of what executive action will mean for Maine, including the potential number of applicants for the deferred action initiatives, and the economic benefits DAPA and DACA will bring to the state. The fact sheet also provides background on the immigrant, Latino, and Asian population in Maine and their current contributions to the state’s economy. 

Estimates of the population eligible to participate in executive action programs represent only a small portion of the total number of immigrants in Maine.   Read more...

Published On: Tue, Mar 10, 2015 | Download File

Immigration Executive Action Impact on the States: West Virginia

The series of executive actions on immigration, which President Obama announced on November 20, 2014, promises to benefit the U.S. economy.  Most, though not all, of these economic gains would flow from the two deferred action initiatives:  Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), which will grant temporary relief from deportation and work authorization to some unauthorized parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents; and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which offers the same relief to qualified young adults who were brought to the United States as children. This fact sheet provides a snapshot of what executive action will mean for West Virginia, including the potential number of applicants for the deferred action initiatives, and the economic benefits DAPA and DACA will bring to the state. The fact sheet also provides background on the immigrant, Latino, and Asian population in West Virginia and their current contributions to the state’s economy. 

Estimates of the population eligible to participate in executive action programs represent only a small portion of the total number of immigrants in West Virginia.   Read more...

Published On: Tue, Mar 10, 2015 | Download File

Immigration Executive Action Impact on the States: Nevada

The series of executive actions on immigration, which President Obama announced on November 20, 2014, promises to benefit the U.S. economy.  Most, though not all, of these economic gains would flow from the two deferred action initiatives:  Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), which will grant temporary relief from deportation and work authorization to some unauthorized parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents; and expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which offers the same relief to qualified young adults who were brought to the United States as children. This fact sheet provides a snapshot of what executive action will mean for Nevada, including the potential number of applicants for the deferred action initiatives, and the economic benefits DAPA and DACA will bring to the state. The fact sheet also provides background on the immigrant, Latino, and Asian population in Nevada and their current contributions to the state’s economy.

Estimates of the population eligible to participate in executive action programs vary, but represent only a small portion of the total number of immigrants in Nevada.  Read more...

Published On: Tue, Mar 10, 2015 | Download File