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: 
November 29, 2011
This paper describes the Secure Communities program, identifies concerns about the program’s design and implementation, and makes recommendations for the future of the program.
Publication Date: 
November 29, 2011
The Secure Communities Program, which launched in March 2008, has been held out as a simplified model for state and local cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. This fact sheet lays out...
Publication Date: 
November 9, 2011
Although key provisions of Alabama’s HB 56 are on hold while its constitutionality is being tested in the courts, evidence is mounting of the growing fiscal and economic impact of the new law. State...
Publication Date: 
November 8, 2011
(Updated November 2011) - Arizona’s infamous anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, has spawned many imitators. In a growing number of state houses around the country, bills have been passed or...
Publication Date: 
November 1, 2011
Turning Off the Water: How the Contracting and Transaction...
Publication Date: 
October 19, 2011
Many political pundits, GOP presidential aspirants, and Members of Congress want to have it both ways when it comes to federal spending on immigration. On the one hand, there is much talk about the...
Publication Date: 
October 6, 2011
One of the ugliest myths in the immigration debate is that immigrants are more likely to commit crime or pose a danger to society. Although studies repeatedly have shown that immigrants are less...
Publication Date: 
September 12, 2011
The external borders of the United States matter to security, but how and in what ways is neither automatic nor obvious. The current assumption is that borders defend the national interior against...
Publication Date: 
September 1, 2011
If the United States wants effective border security, then more effective law‐enforcement measures must be taken.
Publication Date: 
July 20, 2011
On June 17, 2011, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton issued two significant memoranda on the use of prosecutorial discretion in immigration matters. Prosecutorial...
September 18, 2018

The American Immigration Council and American Immigration Lawyers Association submitted a written statement to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and...

August 23, 2018

The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy led to not only to the forcible separation of thousands of children from their parents, but the extreme duress and coercion of...

This lawsuit seeks to compel U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to release records relating to CBP’s complaint process and actions taken in response to complaints made to CBP concerning its agents and officers since January 1, 2012.
July 31, 2018
The statement shares our analysis and research regarding the nation's asylum system and the obligations of the U.S. government to asylum seekers, as well as our deep concern around the administration's family separation policies and increased prosecution of migrants.
July 31, 2018
The American Immigration Council submitted a written statement to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for a July 31, 2018 hearing on “Oversight of Immigration Enforcement and Family Reunification Efforts.”

With the end of prosecutorial discretion under the Trump administration, noncitizens living in the United States with a removal order face quick, and almost certain deportation unless they have...

The American Immigration Council filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with ICE and CBP on October 13, 2017, seeking data on enforcement actions and outcomes since January 2016. With this data, the Council will be able to assess who is being targeted for removal and what the consequences are of the current enforcement framework.
This lawsuit seeks to compel government agencies to produce documents regarding family separation policies.
In the year and a half since the FOIA request was filed, CBP largely failed to provide any records in response to the request. On June 11, 2018, the Council, represented by O’Melveny & Myers LLP, filed a lawsuit to compel DHS and CBP to comply with FOIA and to release additional records related to the 2016 request.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers all too frequently deny individuals fleeing persecution and torture their right to seek protection in the United States, issue summary removal orders against them, and then falsify documents to support their illegal actions.
June 27, 2022

The House Appropriations Committee on Friday passed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill for Fiscal Year 2023, as part of the year-over-year process that Congress undertakes to...

June 10, 2022

The Supreme Court issued a decision on Wednesday barring a civil rights lawsuit against a U.S. Border Patrol agent for reportedly entering the property of a U.S. citizen without a warrant and...

May 23, 2022

Just three days before Title 42 was set to end on May 23, a federal judge in Louisiana blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from ending the controversial policy. With the...

May 10, 2022

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) announced in a May 6 memorandum that it would eliminate its Border Patrol Critical Incident Teams (BPCITs). The teams have faced criticism for their secretive...

April 28, 2022

A federal court in Louisiana issued an order on Wednesday temporarily preventing the Biden administration from winding down Title 42, the controversial public health policy that allows immigration...

April 26, 2022

Over three years after the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) went into effect, the Supreme Court finally heard oral arguments in a case about the program, also known as the “Remain in Mexico”...

April 22, 2022

Less than a week after the Biden Administration announced the impending end to the COVID-era Title 42 border policy, Texas Governor Greg Abbott escalated his ongoing political fight with the Biden...

April 12, 2022

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced in early April that it would end Title 42, the pandemic border policy that allowed immigration officials to rapidly “expel” migrants...

April 8, 2022

Every year, the president submits a budget request to Congress with their proposal for funding the federal government. Over the last 20 years, Congress has spent over $333 billion on immigration...

April 7, 2022

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a long-awaited memo on Sunday to guide ICE attorneys on exercising their prosecutorial discretion in immigration court. Authored by ICE’s...

January 13, 2020
The trial in a legal challenge to the horrific conditions in U.S. Border Patrol's short-term detention facilities across the Tucson sector, filed in June 2015 by immigration groups, begins on Monday, Jan. 13 at the U.S. District Court in Tucson, Arizona.
November 20, 2019
The Trump administration published a new rule that seeks to implement safe third country agreements that the United States entered into with Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador—and bar many individuals seeking protection in the United States from being able to apply for asylum.
October 24, 2019
Media reports today indicate that the government has initiated a new pilot program in El Paso, Texas to rush the review of sensitive asylum cases. The reported program, called “Prompt Asylum Case Review,” forces families to navigate the asylum process while detained in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
October 15, 2019
A federal court in San Francisco certified two nationwide classes of immigrants and attorneys claiming that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have a systemic pattern and practice of failing to provide access to immigration case records within deadlines set by the Freedom of Information Act. The case records, known as A-files, contain information about individuals’ immigration history in the United States. This is the first time a court has certified a class in a lawsuit alleging a pattern and practice of violating FOIA
October 2, 2019
The American Immigration Council and Tahirih Justice Center filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in federal court to compel the government to release records about the Trump administration’s troubling new practice of allowing U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers to screen individuals seeking asylum in the United States. The lawsuit seeks these documents to shed light on changes to the asylum screening process, CBP’s role in conducting interviews and making determinations regarding an asylum seeker’s “credible fear” of persecution, and the measures taken by CBP, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Department of Homeland Security to implement this new practice.
September 28, 2019
A federal court has blocked a Trump administration policy that sought to massively expand fast-track deportations without a fair legal process such as a court hearing or access to an attorney. The American Immigration Council, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP sought the preliminary injunction, which was granted close to midnight on Friday by U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
September 26, 2019
Immigrant rights attorneys moved to block the Trump administration’s Asylum Ban from affecting tens of thousands of migrants who have already attempted to access the U.S. asylum process before the ban was implemented. With limited exceptions, the Asylum Ban prohibits anyone who traveled through a third country and did not seek protection there from obtaining asylum here. The request filed today is in the ongoing case challenging the Trump administration’s policy of turning back asylum seekers at ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border, including the “metering” policy.
September 19, 2019
Five asylum-seeking mothers and their children who were torn apart under the Trump administration’s family separation policy filed a lawsuit against the United States for the cruel treatment and agony U.S. immigration agencies inflicted on them. The five parents and their children, who were as young as five at the time of the separation, claim that the U.S. government intentionally subjected them to extraordinary trauma that will have lifelong implications.
August 21, 2019
he Trump administration announced that it will publish a new regulation on Friday that allows for the indefinite detention of immigrant children. The rule will terminate the Flores Settlement Agreement, which currently requires that the government hold children in the least restrictive setting and release them as quickly as possible, generally within 20 days.
August 6, 2019
The American Immigration Council, American Civil Liberties Union, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP filed a federal lawsuit today challenging the Trump administration’s new rule that massively expands fast-track deportations without a fair legal process such as a court hearing or access to an attorney.
October 6, 2023

Corruption within U.S. Custom and Border Protection’s workforce often has been hidden behind bureaucratic red tape. But what was once shrouded in mystery is now plainly available—on CBP’s own...

September 28, 2023

A recent Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision bars certain recently arrived noncitizens from becoming lawful permanent residents. In Matter of Cabrera-Fernandez, the BIA held that the...

September 21, 2023

Co-Authors: Emily Creighton and Tsion Gurmu In the summer of 2020, after George Floyd’s murder, racial justice protests took hold in cities throughout the country. The massive mobilization...

September 14, 2023

Since President Biden took office, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been escalating both rhetoric and action in response to a rise in migration across the Rio Grande. Right now, challenges to his...

September 8, 2023

“There should be no private prisons, period, none, period. And we are working to close all of them.” Those are the words of President Joe Biden in April 2021, when he was called out by immigrant...

August 17, 2023

On Thanksgiving Day 2017, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers arrested Kamyar Samimi—a lawful permanent resident with a decade-old conviction for drug possession—and sent him...

August 10, 2023

On April 8, a family came to the San Ysidro port of entry in Tijuana and asked to be let into the United States to seek asylum. The husband’s arm was bleeding. He’d been shot. The cartel that had...

August 9, 2023

The Biden administration has officially reinstated its enforcement guidelines for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The move comes after the Supreme Court reaffirmed the federal...

July 28, 2023

On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that the Biden administration’s asylum transit ban was illegal and should be vacated. The ruling isn’t in effect yet – it was delayed for 14 days and may be...

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