Policy Briefs

AILA’s policy briefs provide in-depth insight and analysis on significant issues impacting the practice of immigration law, and offer recommendations to make the immigration law system more fair, efficient, and just. Check out all of AILA’s policy briefs below, with the most recent policy brief appearing first, and make your voice heard by supporting AILA’s advocacy priorities. 

Electronic Service of NTAs
AILA outlines what ICE must do to preserve due process when implementing electronic systems for processing and serving Notices to Appear.
High-Stakes Asylum
This first-of-its-kind report explains asylum timelines and offers recommendations for how to make the asylum process more efficient while also ensuring its integrity.

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Policy Brief

Policy Brief: The Asylum Credible Fear Standard

Proposed legislation has threatened to further restrict access to asylum. AILA opposes this change. This brief explains the current law governing this part of the asylum process called the credible fear interview.

11/27/23 AILA Doc. No. 23112244. Asylum
Policy Brief

Policy Brief: Barriers to Immigrant Visas Driving Migrants to the Southern Border

AILA provides a policy brief that connects visa delays at the Department of State with pressure on migrants to cross the southern border without authorization. Most of these delays are a result from a lack of resources and insufficient funding, as well as inefficiencies in the agencies’ processing.

11/6/23 AILA Doc. No. 23110601. Admissions & Border
Policy Brief

Policy Brief: Representing Detained Clients in the Virtual Legal Landscape

AILA and the CAIR Coalition provide a practice advisory that focuses on the challenges unique to the detention context and how best to address some of the key issues to effectively providing remote representation to detained noncitizens.

10/10/23 AILA Doc. No. 23101001. Detention & Bond, Removal & Relief
Policy Brief

Policy Brief: Guiding Principles for an Electronic Service of the Notice to Appear

Recent developments in technology and increased migration encounters have generated interest in creating electronic systems for processing and serving NTAs. AILA provides a policy brief that outlines the parameters electronic systems and electronic service must have in order to preserve due process.

7/11/23 AILA Doc. No. 23071200. Removal & Relief
Policy Brief

High-Stakes Asylum: How Long an Asylum Case Takes and How We Can Do Better

AILA released a first-of-its-kind report on asylum timelines, High-Stakes Asylum: How Long an Asylum Case Takes and How We Can Do Better. The report is based on a survey of over 300 asylum attorneys about how much time it takes to prepare an asylum application.

6/14/23 AILA Doc. No. 23061202. Asylum
Policy Brief, Advocacy & Media

Policy Brief: What Does Effective Border Management Look Like?

To ensure lasting and meaningful change at the border, border security reforms must happen in tandem with other improvements to the immigration system. AILA offers recommendations for efficient, fair border processing, and managing migration.

5/9/23 AILA Doc. No. 22122790. Admissions & Border
Policy Brief, Advocacy & Media

Policy Brief: Timing Considerations for Effective Representation in Asylum Cases

AILA provides a policy brief on how mandating asylum processing times tread into territory that imperils our nation’s commitment to due process by creating inflexible timelines that on a practical level do not allow meaningful access to counsel for asylum seekers. s

12/5/22 AILA Doc. No. 22120501. Asylum
Policy Brief, Advocacy & Media

AILA Policy Brief: Case Management: An Effective and Humane Alternative to Detention

AILA summarizes current DHS alternative to detention options and urges Congress to fund a new approach. Case management programs are a more humane and effective approach to obtaining compliance with immigration requirements while also helping migrants navigate complex removal proceedings.

11/2/22 AILA Doc. No. 22110305. Detention & Bond, Removal & Relief
Policy Brief, Advocacy & Media

Making Headway: An Update on DOS’s Progress toward Addressing Inefficiencies and Delays Created by COVID-19

AILA provides a policy brief on the status of our June 2021 recommendations to DOS for reducing backlogs and delays resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as additional recommendations that might help the agency.

10/4/22 AILA Doc. No. 22100305. Consular Processing
Policy Brief, Advocacy & Media

Policy Brief: Use of Virtual Hearings in Removal Proceedings

AILA and the American Immigration Council make detailed recommendations on the use of virtual technology in immigration hearings, describing the challenges of video teleconferencing and recommending agency standards and guidance.

5/3/22 AILA Doc. No. 22050500. Removal & Relief
Policy Brief, Advocacy & Media

AILA Policy Brief: Recommendations on the Expansion and Implementation of Immigration Legal Representation Programs

AILA provides recommendations on the implementation of immigration legal representation programs based on the findings of the AILA Legal Representation Task Force.

3/1/22 AILA Doc. No. 22040504. Removal & Relief
Policy Brief, Advocacy & Media

AILA Policy Brief — Righting the Ship: The Current Status of USCIS Processing Delays and How the Agency Can Get Back on Course

AILA provides an update on the current state of USCIS processing delays and offers 11 recommendations for how USCIS and members of Congress can right the ship and get the agency back on course toward efficient processing of benefits.

3/1/22 AILA Doc. No. 2202285.
Policy Brief, Advocacy & Media

Policy Brief: Reopening America - How DOS Can Reduce Delays and Eliminate Backlogs and Inefficiencies to Create a Welcoming America

AILA provides sensible recommendations for policies and procedures that the Department of State and Biden administration can implement to overcome the hurdles created by the COVID-19 global pandemic, while reestablishing America as a welcoming nation.

6/29/21 AILA Doc. No. 21062930. Consular Processing
Policy Brief, Advocacy & Media

Policy Brief: Moving the Nation Forward by Leaving Immigration Detention Behind

AILA issued a policy brief calling on Congress and the Biden administration to move away from the nation’s harmful and grossly overused detention system. The brief provides recommendations for reducing and phasing out immigration detention, including community-based case management support.

3/25/21 AILA Doc. No. 21032532. Detention & Bond, Removal & Relief
Policy Brief, Advocacy & Media

Policy Brief: How USCIS Can Dismantle the Invisible Wall Slowing Case Adjudication

AILA offers a policy brief with recommendations for actions that USCIS can take to improve its efficiency in adjudications, including eliminating mandatory in-person interview requirements for routine cases, reusing biometrics and waiving the biometrics requirement for certain groups, and more.

3/24/21 AILA Doc. No. 21032530.
Policy Brief, Advocacy & Media

Walled Off: How USCIS Has Closed Its Doors on Customers and Strayed from Its Statutory Customer Service Mission

Over the last four years USCIS has strayed far from its customer-oriented mission. AILA highlights many of the measures responsible for this shift and offers smart, sensible solutions for the agency to rebuild its public services and ensure efficiency and transparency in its operations.

2/12/21 AILA Doc. No. 21021236.
Policy Brief, Advocacy & Media

Policy Brief: Why President Biden Needs to Make Immediate Changes to Rehabilitate the Immigration Courts

In just four years, President Trump implemented radical changes that fundamentally compromised the integrity of the immigration courts. This policy brief explains the most critical and urgent changes President Biden should make to the immigration court system to ensure fairness and impartiality.

2/12/21 AILA Doc. No. 21021232. Removal & Relief
Policy Brief, Advocacy & Media

Policy Brief: The Biden Administration and Congress Must Guarantee Legal Representation for People Facing Removal

AILA and the Council issued a policy brief calling upon the Biden administration to expand federally-funded legal representation programs for people facing removal, arguing that legal representation ensures due process and efficiency, reduces the detention of immigrants, and reduces court backlog.

1/15/21 AILA Doc. No. 21011501. Detention & Bond, Removal & Relief
Policy Brief, Advocacy & Media

Policy Brief: Increase in Indefinite ICE Detention Without Foreseeable Removal Dates During COVID-19 Pandemic

AILA and the Council released a policy brief on the increase in indefinite ICE detention during the pandemic. The brief outlines how ICE has failed to comply with limitations on its authority to indefinitely detain people, thus violating due process and endangering public and detainee health.

1/7/21 AILA Doc. No. 20122802. Detention & Bond, Removal & Relief
Policy Brief, Advocacy & Media

AILA Policy Brief: USCIS’s “No Blank Space” Policy Leads to Capricious Rejections of Benefits Requests

This AILA policy brief describes how USCIS upended long-standing practice, without notice, and began rejecting forms that left questions blank or did not use specific terminology to indicate that a question was inapplicable, leading to capricious rejections.

10/22/20 AILA Doc. No. 20101990.
Policy Brief, Advocacy & Media

AILA Policy Brief: Crisis Level USCIS Processing Delays and Inefficiencies Continue to Grow

AILA’s analysis of USCIS data from FY2019 reveals a continued rise in USCIS processing delays for applications and petitions for immigration benefits. The results of this analysis underscores the importance of robust congressional oversight of USCIS to ensure transparency and good governance.

2/26/20 AILA Doc. No. 20022502.
Policy Brief, Advocacy & Media

Policy Brief: Questions Remain After AILA Joins Laredo Tent Court Tour

On January 24, 2020, at DHS invitation, an AILA delegation attended a tour and briefing of the tent facility in Laredo. This policy brief addresses what AILA learned during that tour of the processes and procedures for migrants, attorneys, and observers.

1/30/20 AILA Doc. No. 20013031. Admissions & Border, Asylum
Policy Brief, Advocacy & Media

AILA Policy Brief: Restoring Integrity and Independence to America’s Immigration Courts

The U.S. immigration court system suffers from profound structural problems that have severely eroded its capacity to deliver just decisions in a timely manner. This policy brief outlines how the courts have been pushed to their breaking point, and what it will take to fix them.

1/24/20 AILA Doc. No. 18092834. Removal & Relief
Policy Brief, Advocacy & Media

AILA Policy Brief: Proposed Asylum Rule Blocks Asylum Seekers from Humanitarian Protection

AILA issued a policy brief on the Trump administration’s notice of proposed rulemaking on bars to asylum eligibility, noting that it would undermine the protections currently available to people who flee to the United States to escape persecution, torture, or even death in their home countries.

1/22/20 AILA Doc. No. 20012236. Asylum
Policy Brief, Advocacy & Media

AILA Policy Brief: Public Access to Tent Courts Now Allowed, but Meaningful Access Still Absent

AILA issued a policy brief following DHS’s announcement that it has opened the Laredo and Brownsville tent courts for court observers. DHS and DOJ have operationalized this directive in a way that fails to allow meaningful access to the tent court facilities and imposes new hurdles to transparency.

1/10/20 AILA Doc. No. 20011061. Admissions & Border, Asylum, Removal & Relief