We are embarking on an era of immense uncertainty for U.S. immigration programs. Whether you are an immigrant who has lived in the United States for years, or you dream of contributing your talents to this country for the first time, the number of new questions faced by you, your friends, and your family may feel overwhelming.
There is so much we don’t know about what new changes and disruptions are coming. But even in a time when predictions should be treated with great scrutiny and skepticism, what we do know is this:
Most executive orders are not self-executing. It is possible for a President to order some changes that take effect immediately, as we have seen. Most elements of an executive order, however, direct a federal agency to undertake new and time-consuming efforts—issuing a new regulation, for example, or forming a commission to make new policy recommendations. Such actions typically take years to play out, and in the meantime, the old policy often goes unchanged.
No President has the last word on immigration. Although our laws tend to give the executive branch wide discretion in carrying out immigration policy, Congress has the power to rewrite these laws. Judges will block or overturn those actions deemed outside the bounds of Congressional intent or the Constitution. State and local governments will make decisions about how they want to treat immigrant issues within their own borders. The coming tensions among all these levels of government will make the fate of any given immigration program even more difficult to predict.
Knowledge is power. Now more than ever, you need timely information that isn’t just speculation—information you can trust. That’s why we will strive to provide you with the most relevant, reliable, up-to-date resources on the state of U.S. immigration programs. We will direct you to well-informed summaries and, wherever possible, primary sources.
Even in the best of circumstances, our immigration system is complex and daunting to navigate. Some of the red tape and delays are unavoidable. But we are dedicated to empowering you to obtain the immigration benefits for which you are eligible under the law, as rapidly and affordably as possible.
If you are eligible to study, work, or reunite with family in the United States, we want to help you fulfill that dream.
If you are eligible for lawful permanent residence—a green card—we want to help you achieve that privilege.
If you are eligible for U.S. citizenship, we want to help you achieve the full rights and responsibilities shared by all Americans.
Take charge of your immigration journey. You are not alone.
How the United States Immigration System Works (American Immigration Council)