Enforcement

The enforcement of immigration laws is a complex and hotly-debated topic. Learn more about the costs of immigration enforcement and the ways in which the U.S. can enforce our immigration laws humanely and in a manner that ensures due process.

Recent Features

All Enforcement Content

February 10, 2021
This report presents a historical overview of how U.S. Border Patrol has been steeped in institutional racism and has committed violent acts with near impunity since its founding nearly 100 years ago...
January 28, 2021
This analysis of data provided by the federal government reveals that 83% of all nondetained immigrants with completed or pending removal cases attended all their hearings from 2008 to 2018.
January 26, 2021
U.S. immigration agencies use a range of programs to deport—or remove—certain noncitizens from the United States. Under the Trump administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and two of...
January 20, 2021
Since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, the federal government has spent an estimated $324 billion on the agencies that carry out immigration enforcement.
October 21, 2020
Sanctuary policies do not conceal or shelter unauthorized immigrants from detection. Here's what you need to know about these policies.
September 30, 2020
This report identifies disruptions throughout the immigration system because of the COVID-19 pandemic and makes recommendations for improvements to the federal government’s response.
January 29, 2020
This fact sheet explains the complicated interplay and application of protection and border processing policies.
January 2, 2020
This fact sheet describes the populations, duration, and conditions for noncitizens detained in the United States by department.
September 13, 2019
This fact sheet gives a brief overview of the process individuals must undergo to seek release from immigration detention.
September 6, 2019
The fact is that building a fortified and impenetrable wall between the United States and Mexico is unnecessary, complicated, ineffective, expensive, and would create a host of additional problems.
May 27, 2021
The amicus brief in Ayom v. Garland urges the eighth circuit to affirm that mandatory detention has constitutional limits, and reject the endorsement of prolonged mandatory detention for people in removal proceedings.
The Council and Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) are investigating the abuse and mistreatment of Black immigrants in ICE detention facilities located in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
The Council filed multiple Freedom of Information Act requests to unearth the systems that the government uses in immigration enforcement and the data it collects.
The Council and Advocates for Basic Legal Equality have launched an investigation into the abusive practices of CBP officers and cooperation with local law enforcement in Ohio.
February 26, 2021
In the amicus brief, the Council and partners reject Calhoun County's position to withhold records that otherwise would be released under the Michigan state FOIA.
This Freedom of Information Act lawsuit calls on CBP to release records documenting the agency’s aggressive and militarized response to the provision of humanitarian aid.
February 12, 2021
The Council submitted this declaration in support of the ACLU's defense of the Biden Administration's moratorium on deportations. This declaration explains how the removal and detention system works.
November 12, 2020
The amicus brief in Pham v. Guzman Chavez urges the Supreme Court to find that the pre-final order detention statute applies to detained noncitizens with prior removal orders who have meritorious claims for a form of humanitarian protection known as withholding of removal.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection may have mistreated migrant children when implementing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention interim final rule that suspends people from entering the United States due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
Given the agency’s history of civil and human rights abuses that have largely gone unchecked, and the possibility of continued deployments, there is an urgent need for further information about CBP’s participation in these law enforcement efforts.
November 1, 2015
This Practice Advisory discusses the impact of an interim rule repealing two former regulations which barred all “arriving aliens” from adjusting status if they are in removal proceedings. This Advisory provides a brief history leading to the rule, defines key terms, discusses the impact of the rule, and suggests steps that a parolee can take to benefit from the rule.
October 22, 2015
This Practice Advisory focuses on the meaning of “admission” in four very specific, but frequently encountered situations: a “wave-through” at a port of entry; and entry based on misrepresentation; an entry based on a false claim to U.S. citizenship; and the grant of TPS as an admission for purposes of adjustment of status.
March 18, 2015
This Practice Advisory, updated following the issuance of Secretary Johnson’s November 20, 2014 memorandum on Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants, explains what prosecutorial discretion is, who has authority to exercise it, and how it is exercised most often in immigration cases. It also suggests ways that attorneys can influence the favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion by ICE, CBP and USCIS officers.
January 21, 2014
This Practice Advisory provides background information about requesting stays of removal from the court of appeals, discusses the legal standard for obtaining a stay, and addresses the implications of the government’s policy with respect to return of individuals who are successful on their appeal.
November 20, 2013

This Practice Advisory discusses the "departure bar" to motions to reopen and arguments adopted by circuit courts that have rejected or upheld the bar.

June 1, 2008

This Practice Advisory offers a short introduction to habeas corpus, addressing when and how a petitioner may file a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the immigration context.

October 19, 2021

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been known to improperly subject individuals in its custody to solitary confinement and has destroyed solitary confinement records in violation...

October 18, 2021

Two months after a federal court ordered the Biden administration to reinstate the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols (also known as “Remain in Mexico”), the administration announced that it...

October 13, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) need to establish clear guidance for when ICE should release someone from detention. So far, the Biden...

October 13, 2021

The Biden administration just took a significant step toward reining in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued a...

October 8, 2021

In September, nearly 15,000 Haitians arrived near Del Rio, Texas seeking asylum in the United States. But rather than allowing them to seek protection, as is their right under United States law,...

October 6, 2021

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials improperly developed intelligence reports nicknamed “baseball cards” about individuals arrested in Portland, Oregon during the civil unrest...

October 1, 2021

On September 30, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued the long-awaited new set of enforcement priorities, entitled “Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil...

September 30, 2021

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced a new lawsuit on Tuesday seeking an order requiring the Biden administration to detain almost all people arriving at the Southwest border. It is the latest...

September 21, 2021

Roughly 14,000 Haitians arrived at the border across from Del Rio, Texas in mid-September and walked across the Rio Grande to seek asylum. Many first left Haiti in 2010 following a devastating...

September 16, 2021

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday stayed a significant part of an earlier decision by the Northern District of Texas that would have blocked the implementation of the Biden...

August 18, 2021
The Council and partner immigration groups and former immigration judges filed an amicus brief to stop the reinstatement of the Migrant Protection Protocols.
August 17, 2021
As the Biden administration begins crafting next year's budget, 131 organizations published a statement for the Biden administration outlining the top immigration priorities that must be included in the country’s budget for Fiscal Year 2023.
June 21, 2021
The American Immigration Council filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against DHS and its two primary immigration enforcement agencies requesting information about the obscure network of databases, information systems, and data sharing methods that are largely shielded from public view.
May 28, 2021
The Biden administration disclosed today a $54.2 billion budget request for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for fiscal year 2022. The request is is deeply disappointing and a missed opportunity to set immigration enforcement in the United States on a new path.
May 20, 2021
A new American Immigration Council report examines the Biden administration’s approach to the U.S. system of immigration enforcement during its first 100 days in office.
May 18, 2021
The Council and Black Alliance for Just Immigration filed 10 FOIA requests to uncover what is happening inside immigration detention facilities and how ICE treats incarcerated Black immigrants in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
March 23, 2021
The nation has turned its attention to the current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, including the rise in immigrant children in U.S. government custody. Much of the conversation has focused on a supposed surge in arrivals under the Biden administration, but the current increase began well before President Biden took office.
March 1, 2021
A new publication provides a snapshot of the extent of available services that help migrants navigate the complexities of the U.S. immigration system.
February 11, 2021
A group of 120 legal and medical services and advocacy organizations sent a letter to the White House and Department of Homeland Security, asking the Biden administration to review the cases of thousands of people who remain in immigration detention, and release those who do not fall within the enforcement priorities detailed in the DHS enforcement priorities memo that took effect February 1.
January 27, 2021
Newly released government records reveal U.S. immigration agencies' efforts in 2019 to rapidly deport thousands of people from the United States through the little-known Electronic Nationality Verification program.
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.
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...

October 20, 2021
The Council and partners urged ICE and USCIS in a letter to ensure timely credible and reasonable fear interviews at U.S. immigration detention centers.
October 19, 2021

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been known to improperly subject individuals in its custody to solitary confinement and has destroyed solitary confinement records in violation...

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