Immigration Policy

Immigration Policy in the United States

Immigration Policy in relation to Crime and Race

Immigration Policy is included in the Encyclopedia of Race and Crime (1), beginning with: Illegal immigration has rapidly become one of the most debated issues in the United States today. Some of the most commonly cited reasons for illegal immigration include war, family reunification, and abject poverty as well as drug and human smuggling. While illegal immigrants to the United States come from many countries, the overwhelming majority come from Mexico, Southeast Asia, and Central America. Various proposals are currently being considered, but all revolve around one central question: To what extent should the United States support or oppose an open borders policy? Advocates of an open borders policy raise both ethical and economic issues in support of their position. Some open borders (aka free migration) proponents argue that the very concept of the nation-state is archaic and should come to an end. With the advent of high-tech means of travel, rigidly enforced borders unnecessarily impede free migration, thus rendering international travel cumbersome.

Federal Agencies Immigration Policy Resources

“You’re starting to see a sense of empowerment and civic participation that I think is going to be powerful and good for the country. And it is why I’m very confident that we can get immigration reform done.” (President Barack Obama, November 14, 2012)

Immigration issues are relevant to the daily work of many Federal Agencies. Click on the links below to learn more about Federal Agencies departments related to immigration issues:

Department of Homeland Security (DHS): Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

The Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties supports DHS’s mission to secure the nation while preserving individual liberty, fairness, and equality under the law. The Office promotes respect for civil rights and civil liberties in policy creation and implementation, and investigates and resolves civil rights and civil liberties complaints filed by members of the public affected by Department policies and activities.

Department of Homeland Security (DHS): DHS Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) Ombudsman

The Ombudsman’s Office is a free, independent, confidential, and impartial resource that helps individuals and employers resolve problems with USCIS and makes recommendations to fix systemic issues related to the quality of services provided by USCIS. Read more about the CIS ombudsman.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS): Office of Public Engagement

The USCIS Office of Public Engagement is committed to building new partnerships and enhancing existing relationships with a broad range of stakeholders, including community-based and faith-based organizations, state and local government representatives, advocacy groups, and other stakeholders interested in USCIS policies and operations.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE): Office of the Public Advocate

As a part of its ongoing detention reform and other enforcement-related initiatives, ICE created the Office of the Public Advocate. The Public Advocate serves as a point of contact for individuals and community stakeholders in resolving complaints and concerns with agency policies and operations.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP): Office of the Non-Government Organization Liaison

The Office of the Non-Government Organization(NGO) Liaison is the agency’s principal liaison to the NGO community. Responsibilities of the Office including facilitating dialogue on behalf of CBP in close collaboration with DHS components. Established under the Obama Administration, formalizing this Office was a critical step toward building and enhancing the agency’s relationship with this important community.

Department of Labor (DOL): Office of Public Engagement

The DOL Office of Public Engagement facilitates and coordinates external meeting requests, ensures that obstacles to participation are mitigated, and provides recommendations to inform and influence Departmental resources, programs and policies.

Department of State (DOS): Bureau of Public Affairs

The Public Affairs Bureau advances the State Department’s mission to inform the American people and global audiences through a variety of ways. Among other things, the Public Affairs Bureau answers questions from the public about current foreign policy issues by phone, email, letter, or through social media.

Department of State (DOS): Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM)

PRM provides aid and sustainable solutions for refugees, victims of conflict, and stateless people around the world, through repatriation, local integration, and resettlement in the United States. PRM also promotes the U.S.’s population and migration policies.

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR)

ORR provides new populations with the opportunity to maximize their potential in the United States. ORR programs provide people in need with critical resources to assist them in becoming integrated members of American society.


Notes and References

  1. Entry about Immigration Policy in the Encyclopedia of Race and Crime

See Also

Immigration Policy: Open and Free Legal Research of US Law

Federal Primary Materials

The U.S. federal government system consists of executive, legislative, and judicial branches, each of which creates information that can be the subject of legal research about Immigration Policy. This part provides references, in relation to Immigration Policy, to the legislative process, the federal judiciary, and the primary sources of federal law (cases, statutes, and regulations).

Federal primary materials about Immigration Policy by content types:

Laws and Regulations

US Constitution
Federal Statutory Codes and Legislation

Federal Case Law and Court Materials

U.S. Courts of Appeals
United States courts of appeals, inclouding bankruptcy courts and bankcruptcy appellate panels:

Federal Administrative Materials and Resources

Presidential Materials

Materials that emanate from the President’s lawmaking function include executive orders for officers in departments and agencies and proclamations for announcing ceremonial or commemorative policies. Presidential materials available include:

Executive Materials

Federal Legislative History Materials

Legislative history traces the legislative process of a particular bill (about Immigration Policy and other subjects) for the main purpose of determining the legislators’ intent behind the enactment of a law to explain or clarify ambiguities in the language or the perceived meaning of that law (about Immigration Policy or other topics), or locating the current status of a bill and monitoring its progress.

State Administrative Materials and Resources

State regulations are rules and procedures promulgated by state agencies (which may apply to Immigration Policy and other topics); they are a binding source of law. In addition to promulgating regulations, state administrative boards and agencies often have judicial or quasi-judicial authority and may issue administrative decisions affecting Immigration Policy. Finding these decisions can be challenging. In many cases, researchers about Immigration Policy should check state agency web sites for their regulations, decisions, forms, and other information of interest.

State rules and regulations are found in codes of regulations and administrative codes (official compilation of all rules and regulations, organized by subject matter). Search here:

State opinions of the Attorney General (official written advisory opinions on issues of state law related to Immigration Policy when formerly requested by a designated government officer):

Tools and Forms

Law in Other Regions

*This resource guide is updated frequently. However, if you notice something is wrong or not working, or any resources that should be added, please notify us in any of the "Leave a Comment" area.

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