AILA Public Statements, Press Releases

AILA’s “Invisible Wall” Report Sheds Light on Trump Administration Policies to Restrict Legal Immigration

3/21/18 AILA Doc. No. 18031936.
George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) today released a new report, "Deconstructing the Invisible Wall: How Policy Changes by the Trump Administration are Slowing and Restricting Legal Immigration." Highlighted by real-life case examples, the report describes the broad array of immigration-related policy and procedural changes that have been implemented by the administration that are harming U.S. businesses, American families, and the national economy.

"For decades, our legal immigration system has shaped the America we live in today. As family members reunite, as employers find the right talent, and as colleges and universities open their doors to students from around the globe, America has reaped the benefits of the contributions of immigrants." said Annaluisa Padilla, AILA President. She continued, "New restrictive policies implemented without any action by Congress are now blocking these longstanding opportunities. Although these policies are promoted as necessary to protect national security and the American workforce, they are shrouded in the fallacy that immigration is bad for our country when study after study shows that immigration makes our country stronger."

Ben Johnson, AILA Executive Director added, "As a nation, we cannot afford to turn our backs on legal immigration. Immigrants living and working in the United States based on employer sponsorship, family ties, and humanitarian protection build stronger communities, drive economic growth, and enrich our national culture. The 'invisible wall' that is quietly and deliberately being built by the administration is harmful to America and needs to be dismantled by the courts, by Congress, and by public opinion. Our shared prosperity and our country's proud history as a nation of immigrants depend on it."

The policies and issues detailed in the report include:

  • The travel bans and extreme vetting directives that halt or delay immigration without any justification beyond vague references to national security;
  • Policies restricting the admission of temporary skilled workers and entrepreneurs to the United States, impacting American businesses and slowing economic growth;
  • The termination of programs for compelling populations, sowing fear and confusion among thousands of individuals who have resided in the U.S. for decades;
  • The imposition of hurdles to naturalization for foreign-born soldiers, which are unnecessary and ignore the needs of the U.S. military; and
  • The growing backlog of immigration benefits applications, increasing processing times, and increasing fees, along with a decreasing focus on stakeholder input and customer service.

Listen to a recording of the March 21, 2018, press briefing about the report

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The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.