Enforcement

Our legal system rests upon the principle that everyone is entitled to due process of law and a meaningful opportunity to be heard. But for far too long, the immigration system has failed to provide noncitizens with a system of justice that lives up to this standard. Learn about ways in which the immigration system could ensure that all noncitizens have a fair day in court.  

Recent Features

All Enforcement Content

Publication Date: 
April 2, 2010
Updated 04/02/10 Since 2004, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) has greatly expanded its partnerships with local police through the 287(g) program. As of March 2010, more than 1,...
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March 2, 2010
The month of March marks the seventh anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its immigration agencies. It also marks the end of a sweeping internal review ordered by Secretary...
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February 22, 2010
Study Finds Significant Behavioral Changes in Children After Raids Children of unauthorized immigrant parents are often forgotten in debates over immigration reform. There are roughly 5.5 million...
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February 17, 2010
The Criminal Alien Program (CAP) is a program administered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that screens inmates in prisons and jails, identifies deportable non-citizens, and places them...
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February 4, 2010
The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) reports that federal immigration prosecutions rose to record levels during fiscal year...
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November 9, 2009
From the Revolutionary War to the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, immigrants have made significant contributions to the United States by serving in our military forces. Today, immigrants...
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October 21, 2009
While some characterize our immigration crisis as solely an issue of the 11 to 12 million unauthorized immigrants living in this country, our problems extend beyond the number of undocumented people...
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June 17, 2009
The Department of Homeland Security released a report this week showing that apprehensions...
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March 9, 2009
The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), as well as the Heritage Foundation, have recently claimed that up to 300,000 construction jobs...
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December 17, 2008
Over the past year and a half, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona has transformed his police department into an immigration-enforcement agency, gaining international publicity in the...
January 21, 2014
The American Immigration Council and National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG) are seeking to preserve federal court review of damages actions brought by noncitizens for abuse of authority by immigration agents.
January 3, 2014
Long used in criminal trials, motions to suppress can lead to the exclusion of evidence obtained by the government in violation of the Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, or related provisions of federal law. While the immediate purpose of filing a motion to suppress is to prevent the government from meeting its burden of proof, challenges to unlawfully obtained evidence can also deter future violations by law enforcement officers and thereby protect the rights of other noncitizens. The Supreme Court held in INS v. Lopez-Mendoza, 468 U.S. 1032 (1984), that motions to suppress evidence under the Fourth Amendment in immigration proceedings should be granted only for “egregious” violations or if violations became “widespread.” Despite this stringent standard, noncitizens have prevailed in many cases on motions to suppress.
October 4, 2013
The Council, along with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), is seeking to preserve federal court review of damages actions brought by noncitizens for abuse of authority by immigration agents. In actions brought under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), the government routinely moves to dismiss these cases on a variety of jurisdictional grounds, including by arguing that INA § 242(g) bars the court’s review of damages claims in any case involving removal procedures, and that a remedy under Bivens is not available in immigration-related actions. In essence, the government is attempting to deprive those who have been harmed by immigration agents of any remedy in federal court.
In March 2013, the American Immigration Council and Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, later joined by the Legal Aid Justice Center, filed a lawsuit alleging that CBP officers at Dulles Airport in Virginia unlawfully detained a U.S. citizen child for more than twenty hours, deprived her of contact with her parents, and then effectively deported her to Guatemala. The case was one of ten complaints filed the same week to highlight CBP abuses along the northern and southern borders.
In June 2012, the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, filed suit against DHS and CBP for unlawfully withholding records concerning voluntary returns of noncitizens from the United States to their countries of origin. Voluntary return, also known as “administrative voluntary departure,” is a procedure whereby CBP officers permit noncitizens to voluntarily depart the United States at their own expense rather than undergoing formal removal proceedings. Noncitizens may be granted voluntary return to their countries of origin after conceding unlawful presence in the United States and knowingly and voluntarily waiving the right to contest removal.
Co-Plaintiffs American Immigration Council and AILA’s Connecticut chapter initially sought records related to the Criminal Alien Program (CAP) through a FOIA request to ICE in December 2011. When ICE refused to release responsive records, Plaintiffs filed suit under FOIA to compel their disclosure.
On August 22, 2014, the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the National Immigration Law Center, Van Der Hout Brigagliano & Nightingale LLP, and Jenner & Block, filed this lawsuit in the federal district court for the District of Columbia. The case was a systemic challenge to the policies denying a fair deportation process to mothers and children detained in the Artesia Family Residential Center who had fled extreme violence, death threats, rape, and persecution in Central America and come to the United States seeking safety.

Advocates in states along the northern border of the United States have reported that Border Patrol agents frequently “assist” other law enforcement agencies by serving...

Based on reports from immigration advocates, CBP officers do not always provide noncitizens with information regarding the consequences of accepting voluntary return...

American Immigration Council and AILA’s Connecticut chapter initially sought records related to CAP through a FOIA request to ICE in December 2011. When ICE refused to release records responsive to the request, Plaintiffs filed suit under FOIA for declaratory and injunctive relief to compel the disclosure and release of agency records improperly withheld by DHS and its component ICE
March 9, 2021

The Biden administration announced new “enforcement priorities” for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on February 18. The priorities were an initial step away from the Trump administration...

March 9, 2021

Since 2013, the government has struggled to respond to increasing numbers of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. After disastrous Trump administration policies left...

March 5, 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court published a new decision on March 4 that will make it harder—if not impossible—for many longtime immigrants to fight deportation. The case, Pereida v. Wilkson, abandons...

March 2, 2021

The U.S. government has long relied on a punitive and outdated detention system to keep immigrants in its custody. Even when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) places people on...

March 2, 2021

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced last week that it would make changes to two family detention centers in Texas that would result in families spending less time in detention...

February 19, 2021

For years, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has taken a harsh, punitive approach that has ripped families and communities apart. The Trump administration’s approach was particularly...

February 17, 2021

Just days before it was due to take effect, the Biden administration has struck down a last-minute deal made between the Trump administration and the union for U.S. Immigration and Customs...

February 12, 2021

The Trump administration sent over 70,000 people who came to the U.S border seeking asylum back to Mexico to wait for court hearings. This so-called “Migrant Protection Protocols” (“MPP”) program...

February 11, 2021

The U.S. Border Patrol has been rooted in institutional racism since its founding in 1924. Almost a century later, the agency continues to commit racially fueled violent acts with near impunity....

February 8, 2021

For more than 40 years, the law has guaranteed any person who is physically present in the United States a right to seek asylum. In 2019 the Trump administration attempted to effectively eliminate...

August 16, 2017
The parties in Dilley Pro Bono Project v. ICE have reached a settlement that ensures access to mental health evaluations for certain detained mothers and children seeking asylum.
July 12, 2017

Washington D.C. - Today an immigrant rights group and several asylum seekers filed a class action lawsuit against officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S.

June 28, 2017
A U.S. District Court condemned the federal government for continuing to disregard critical protections for children in detention.
June 19, 2017
The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) are responding to this representation crisis with an Immigration Justice Campaign, a new initiative to prepare more lawyers to be cutting-edge defenders of immigrants facing deportatio
June 2, 2017
Access to legal counsel is a core American value and is the cornerstone of our justice system. Yet, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has severely limited access to legal assistance for asylum-seeking women and children held in family detention facilities.
May 25, 2017
AILA and the Council have petitioned the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State to issue new regulations that will ensure all immigrants have access to legal counsel in secondary and deferred inspection, as well as overseas consular interviews.
March 10, 2017
Immigrant rights groups asked the Washington District Court to again enjoin the Trump Administration’s “Muslim Ban” executive order.
February 17, 2017
The memo calls for the expansion of detentions and deportations, the hiring of more Border Patrol agents, the use of State National Guards, the building of a border wall, and the creation of new barriers for asylum seekers, among other provisions.
January 25, 2017
President Trump announced executive orders that are intended to follow through on campaign promises to build a wall and deport millions. Here's our response.
January 17, 2017
A coalition of immigrant and civil rights groups filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, last Friday and the Office of Inspector General, on behalf of numerous adult men and women, families and unaccompanied children who, over the past several months, were denied entry to the United States at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border.
November 16, 2021

Four years ago, immigration lawyers and advocates began to see a disturbing practice emerge: the U.S. government began to forcibly separate children—some very young—from their parents at the...

November 10, 2021

By Tsion Gurmu, Legal Manager and Staff Attorney at the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and Emily Creighton, Legal Director of Transparency The public watched in horror this September as U.S....

This FOIA suit seeks to compel ICE to release information about conditions, treatment, and outcomes in eight immigration detention facilities in the U.S. South.
November 3, 2021

In a landmark court decision, Geo Group—one of the largest private prison companies that own and/or manage dozens of immigrant detention centers across the United States—was found to have violated...

October 29, 2021

By Emma Winger, Staff Attorney, American Immigration Council, and Eunice Cho, Sr. Staff Attorney, ACLU National Prison Project “Ben G.” is a 35-year-old veterinarian from Nicaragua who fled to the...

October 29, 2021
The Biden administration announced that DHS will issue a new memo to formally terminate the Migrant Protection Protocols. It is an important step towards ensuring that the MPP program never returns.
Publication Date: 
October 29, 2021
The American Immigration Council and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) advocated for attorney access in immigration detention facilities in a letter sent a letter to DHS and ICE.
October 28, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued “Guidelines for Enforcement Actions in or Near Protected Areas”—a new memo that provides a framework for when and where DHS law enforcement...

October 26, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published new data last week showing that over the past 12 months, the Border Patrol has carried out nearly 1.7 million apprehensions at the southern...

October 21, 2021

In a split decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on October 20 lifted a lower court’s protections for medically vulnerable people locked up in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE...

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