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

Publication Date: 
May 23, 2012
The collection of biometrics—including fingerprints, DNA, and face-recognition ready photographs—is becoming more and more a part of society. Both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the...
Publication Date: 
May 1, 2012
The report describes restrictions on access to legal counsel before DHS, provides a legal landscape, and offers recommendations designed to combat DHS’s harmful practices. It also addresses changes...
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April 30, 2012
How Behavioral Economics Reveals the Fallacies behind “Attrition through Enforcement” By Alexandra Filindra, Ph.D....
Publication Date: 
April 17, 2012
In April, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Arizona v. United States, a case addressing the legality of the Arizona immigration law known as SB 1070. According to the statement...
Publication Date: 
April 17, 2012
In April 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released two long-awaited reports on the Secure Communities Program: Operations of United States...
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April 11, 2012
Discretion takes many forms throughout the immigration enforcement process. Every removal of a noncitizen from the United States, for example, reflects a series of complex choices which reflect...
Publication Date: 
April 1, 2012
Proportionality is the notion that the severity of a sanction should not be excessive in relation to the gravity of an offense. The principle is ancient and nearly uncontestable, and its operation...
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February 23, 2012
As federal officers, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents may only exercise the authority granted under federal statutes and regulations. This fact sheet provides a snapshot of search, interrogation...
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February 16, 2012
What You Need to Know if Your State is Considering Anti-immigrant Legislation...
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February 6, 2012
By Michele Waslin The day that Alabama’s draconian anti-immigrant law...
This FOIA lawsuit sought information from the EOIR on the Institutional Hearing Program (IHP), which it runs jointly with ICE and the Bureau of Prisons (BOP).
This nationwide class action lawsuit challenges systemic delays in providing immigration files.
June 11, 2019
New evidence shows the woefully inadequate medical and mental health care in an immigration detention center in Aurora, Colorado. Here are some of the detainees’ experiences we documented:
Publication Date: 
April 19, 2019
In this case, the Federal Defenders of San Diego argue that the court should have conducted a deeper inquiry into the voluntariness of a guilty plea offered by 18-year-old Claudia Hernandez-Becerra because she spent three days detained in an “hielera” before her arraignment for entering the United States without permission.
February 28, 2019
Numerous babies under the age of one—and some as young as six months old—are being detained in immigration detention at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas.
We filed a FOIA request seeking statistical information, as well as policies and guidance, regarding Board of Immigration Appeals standards for issuing stays of removal. Because the government failed to respond, we're filing a lawsuit.
February 6, 2019
The Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)—also commonly known as the "Remain in Mexico" policy—will put asylum seekers at grave risk of harm by forcing them to remain in Mexico pending their request for protection. Due to these concerns, immigration advocates submitted a letter to the government with first-hand testimonies of ten families attesting to the violence and harm–including rape, beatings, kidnappings, and ransom–they faced on the Mexican side of our southern border.
Publication Date: 
January 10, 2019

The American Immigration Council and the Immigrants’ Rights and Human Trafficking Program and Boston University School of Law filed an amicus brief in ACLU v. DHS, a Freedom of Information...

January 7, 2019

The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) submitted a joint comment opposing the “Interim Final Rule: Aliens Subject to a Bar on Entry Under...

November 6, 2018
The Trump administration proposed new regulations undermining the 1997 Flores settlement agreement. If the proposed regulations are finalized, they would weaken protections for children and place them at greater risk of trauma and mistreatment.
September 7, 2022

There is no doubt that fentanyl is a major problem inside the United States. Over the last decade, rising availability of fentanyl has caused a spike in overdose deaths across the nation. In 2021...

September 6, 2022

Border Patrol agents in Arizona have been confiscating and not returning the turbans worn by Sikh asylum seekers as part of their religion. Immigrant advocates and members of Congress have pointed...

August 18, 2022

As midterm election season heats up, House Republicans on the “American Security Task Force” have produced a new framework for what they say is a plan to “secure the border.” Despite the claim of...

August 10, 2022

The lack of a major overhaul in the United States’ immigration system for roughly thirty years has created an ecosystem where states have attempted to insert their authority over immigration,...

August 2, 2022

For almost two decades, asylum seekers taken into Border Patrol custody who passed a “credible fear” interview have been eligible to seek release from detention on bond while they go through the...

July 25, 2022

In a blow to the Department of Homeland Security’s attempts to set priorities for immigration enforcement, late last week the Supreme Court of the United States decided 5-4 to deny a request from...

July 20, 2022

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) recently announced a new directive aimed at preserving family unity and the parental rights of noncitizens. The directive, “Interests of Noncitizen...

July 12, 2022

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has concluded in a new report that Border Patrol agents on horseback did engage in the “unnecessary use of force” against Haitian migrants entering the...

July 8, 2022

Since President Biden took office, he has faced attacks on his handling of the border from Governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida. Both states brought lawsuits against Biden’s...

June 30, 2022

Almost a year after the Supreme Court allowed a federal judge in Texas to order the Biden administration to restart the so-called “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP), the Supreme Court ruled in...

May 14, 2020
The American Immigration Council, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Human Rights Watch, and the law firm Winston & Strawn LLP filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Northern District of California today to compel the release of records about the US Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program.
May 7, 2020
The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association , through their joint initiative the Immigration Justice Campaign, filed an oversight complaint with the Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the Office of the Inspector General highlighting the experiences of individuals detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
April 28, 2020
Today’s Court decision denying the emergency temporary restraining order in NIPNLG, et al., v. EOIR, et al., is deeply disappointing. This lawsuit was brought against the Executive Office for Immigration Review and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to protect the health of immigration attorneys, immigrants, and the public from the impact of dangerous and unconstitutional policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
April 22, 2020
President Donald Trump signed an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration to the United States. The order applies to many individuals currently outside the United States who do not yet have immigrant (permanent) visas.
April 8, 2020
Immigration groups moved for an emergency temporary restraining order against the Executive Office for Immigration Review and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in order to protect the health of immigration attorneys, immigrants, and the public from the impact of dangerous and unconstitutional policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
March 31, 2020
A federal court in Arizona allowed five asylum-seeking mothers and their children who were torn apart under the Trump administration’s family separation policy to move forward with a lawsuit against the United States for the cruel treatment and anguish U.S. immigration agencies inflicted on them. The court denied the government’s motion to dismiss the case.
March 27, 2020
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has upheld a ruling blocking a Trump administration policy that categorically denies bond hearings to asylum seekers. The case is Padilla v. ICE.
March 23, 2020
In a letter calling for prioritizing the health and safety of government employees, detained individuals, and their legal representatives amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, together with the National Immigrant Justice Center, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and more than 100 other organizations, urged the U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to immediately authorize the robust and automatic use of remote options for immigration court appearances and attorney-client meetings.
February 19, 2020
A federal court ordered U.S. Customs and Border Protection to overhaul the way the agency detains people in its custody in the Tucson Sector. The court found that the conditions in CBP holding cells, especially those that preclude sleep over several nights, are presumptively punitive and violate the U.S. Constitution.
January 23, 2020
During the course of the trial, a federal judge heard from qualified experts who testified on the inadequate medical care and severe conditions inside CBP detention centers.
February 2, 2024

The Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (OIG) published a report last month finding that nearly one-third of medical procedures performed on immigrants in U.S...

January 23, 2024

Buoy barriers with chainsaw devices in the Rio Grande river. Coils of concertina wire along the riverbank. Armored Humvees blocking access roads. Piles of dirt rendering gates unusable. Governor...

January 19, 2024

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a policy on January 12 calling for ICE personnel to wear body cameras in most situations when carrying out enforcement duties. According to...

January 18, 2024

Written by Chelsie Kramer, Texas State Organizer and Emma Winger, Deputy Legal Director  Texas is once again making national headlines after a woman and two children drowned in the Rio Grande...

December 13, 2023

The Biden administration signaled on December 12 that it is willing to make disastrous—and permanent—changes to asylum and immigration policy to obtain temporary military aid for Ukraine, Israel,...

November 17, 2023

After weeks of uncertainty as to whether Congress would reach a deal to fund the government and avoid a shutdown, earlier this week Congress passed a continuing resolution bill which funds the...

November 2, 2023

The Department of Labor (DOL) recently issued its yearly Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor report, examining 131 countries’ efforts to abolish child labor in 2022 and the obstacles those...

October 25, 2023

On October 20, the Biden administration renewed its request for emergency supplemental funding for border management from Congress. This new $14 billion request represents more than a $10 billion...

October 20, 2023

Unless Congress can come to an agreement on the budget by November 17, the government will shut down, forcing tens of thousands of federal employees to work without pay and suspending vital...

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...

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