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US Immigration Resources

Immigration is a complicated and often emotional process, one that can leave an individual, a community and a country confused. Below is a list of resources to help explain the rules and agencies that govern U.S. immigration, as well as the people and organizations working to support those navigating the process.

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Government Sources

Bureau of Consular AffairsU.S. Department of State 
The Bureau issues the travel documents that allow Americans to travel the world and lawful immigrants and visitors to travel to the U.S.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor
Search “foreign born” on this site to pull up tables and reports on foreign-born workers in the U.S., including data on earnings and workplace injuries.

U.S. Census Bureau
The Census Bureau produces data about the people and economy of the U.S., based on the Census survey conducted every 10 years, as well as dozens of other surveys. The website has special reports on the foreign-born population, available here, and community-specific databases, like the American Fact Finder, available here. The Census Bureau also conducts demographic, economic and geographic studies of more than 200 other nations and areas of the world, which is helpful in learning about countries of origin. The International Data Base can be found here.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
Under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), USCIS processes immigrant visa petitions, citizenship applications, as well as asylum and refugee applications. The site has great resources for people looking to start a new life in the U.S. and offers helpful information and data about U.S. immigration past and present.

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol
One of DHS’s largest components, CBP is focused on “keeping terrorists and their weapons out of the U.S.” On a daily basis, though, CBP agents can be found apprehending undocumented immigrants, including a growing number of children from Latin America. The site includes statistics on budget, border patrol agents and the barrier that’s growing along the U.S.-Mexico border.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
ICE is the main investigative unit of DHS and the second biggest investigative agency in the federal government. Notoriously tight-lipped with the media, it is difficult to get specific data and information from ICE about the detention and deportation of undocumented immigrants. The site provides some data but not an exhaustive archive of information.

Executive Office for Immigration Review, Department of Justice
The EOIR adjudicates immigration cases through court proceedings, apellate reviews and administrative hearings across the U.S.

U.S. Research and Policy Groups

Brookings Institution
Experts from the liberal-leaning research and policy group examine the demographic, economic, social and political impact of immigration.

Center for Immigration Studies
The Center for Immigration Studies is an independent, non-profit research group in Washington, DC that advocates stricter immigration control and enforcement.

Heritage Foundation
This conservative research group recently issued a controversial report on the cost of  legalizing the undocumented immigrants in the U.S. The group offers a counter argument to those who say creating a path to citizenship will help boost tax revenue and create jobs.

Migration Policy Institute
The Migration Policy Institute is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit think tank in Washington, DC dedicated to the analysis of the movement of people worldwide. It offers articles, information and statistics for the U.S. and other countries, as well as interactive and its data hub has easy-to-navigate migration and settlement maps, found here.

The right-leaning NumbersUSA seeks to reduce U.S. immigration levels to pre-1965 levels, advocating greater restrictions on immigration to “stabilize” the U.S. population.

Pew Hispanic Center
The nonpartisan Pew Hispanic Center’s research focuses primarily on the U.S. Latino population, but it also has studies and surveys on other populations, like Asian-Americans. Its work focuses on a range of subjects, including identity, economics, immigration, politics and remittances.

The Urban Institute, Immigration Studies Program
Policy experts at the Urban Institute study how the foreign-born population in the U.S. is growing, integrating, and changing.

Advocacy, Legal and Support Groups

American Civil Liberties Union
The ACLU is a nonpartisan, non-profit group working to “defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country,” including immigrants who are not necessarily U.S. citizens. Its lawyers defend thousands of civil liberties cases each year, while its legislative advocates push civil liberties issues on Capitol Hill.

American Immigration Lawyers Association
The American Immigration Lawyers Association is a voluntary bar association of over 12,000 attorneys and law professors who practice and teach immigration law. It offers a helpful daily roundup of immigration news clips from major media outlets, found here.

America's Voice
Founder Frank Sharry has been at the forefront of the pro-immigration reform movement for two decades.

Asian and Pacific Islander Institute on Domestic Violence
The national resource center on domestic violence, sexual violence, trafficking, and other forms of gender-based violence in Asian and Pacific Islander communities. was founded on March 1, 1999, with the sole purpose of using the internet to help lawyers worldwide prepare the best asylum cases they can.

Citizenship Works
CitizenshipWorks provides easy-to-use online tools to help low and moderate-income individuals answer questions about their eligibility for naturalization, to better understand the naturalization process, and to prepare for the naturalization tests.

Define America
Define America is a campaign started by award winning-journalist Jose Antonio Vargas, an undocumented immigrant who grew up in the U.S., to ask, “How do we define an American?”

Detention Watch Network
The Detention Watch Network is a research and advocacy group focused on the U.S. immigration detention and deportation systems. Its national network of members is pushing for what it considers to be more humane treatment of immigrant detainees.

EthnoMed is an ethnic medicine website containing medical and cultural information about immigrant and refugee groups. It is a joint program of the University of Washington Health Sciences Libraries and Harborview Medical Center's Interpreter Services Department/Community House Calls Program. 

Immigration Equality
Immigration Equality is a national organization fighting for equality under U.S. immigration law for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and HIV-positive individuals. The group provides legal aid and advocacy for LGBT and HIV-positive immigrants and their families.
A searchable online directory of over 940 free or low-cost nonprofit immigration legal services providers in all 50 states.

Immigrant Legal Resource Center
The national non-profit resource center provides legal trainings, educational materials, and advocacy to educate immigrants, community organizations, and the legal sector on immigrant rights.

National Council of La Raza
The National Council of La Raza is the largest national Hispanic civil rights and advocacy organization in the U.S.

United We Dream
United We Dream is the largest immigrant youth-led organization in the U.S., working to win citizenship for the entire undocumented community and end deportations and abuses.

International Sources

Amnesty International
Global human rights group concerned about the wellbeing of the displaced, detained and exploited.

International Labor Organization
The U.N. agency advocates internationally recognized human and labor rights around the world.

International Organization for Migration
The inter-governmental organization works with states and non-governmental organizations to settle migrants. With 151 member states, IOM provides services and advice to governments and migrants around the world.

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
The U.N. agency is mandated to lead and coordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide.

The World Bank
The Data & Resesarch section of the World Bank website includes publications and reports on international migration.


AILA InfoNet
Daily immigration news clips curated by the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

Harvest of Empire
Based on the book by award-winning journalist and Democracy Now! Co-host Juan González, Harvest of Empire is a feature-length documentary exploring the connection between the history of U.S. intervention in Latin America and the immigration dilemma America is currently facing.

Lost in Detention
PBS’s FRONTLINE and the Investigative Reporting Workshop examine the Obama administration’s controversial get-tough immigration policy.

Migration News
Migration News, from the University of California - Davis, summarizes the most important immigration and integration developments of the preceding quarter.

New America Media
New America Media is a collaboration and advocate of 2,000 ethnic news organizations, delivering news about immigration and how local and international policies affect ethnic communities in the U.S. and around the world.

The Dream is Now
A 30-minute documentary film by Davis Guggenheim, the Academy Award-winning director of An Inconvenient Truth, tells the story of undocumented children of immigrants and how the Congressional reform process could affect them.

More Immigration-Related Films
houghtful list of Hispanic and immigration-related documentaries, with descriptions.

Featured Videos

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Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syriai
November 26, 2015 5:21 AM
Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

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