Enforcement

The immigration laws and regulations provide some avenues to apply for lawful status from within the U.S. or to seek relief from deportation.  The eligibility requirements for these benefits and relief can be stringent, and the immigration agencies often adopt overly restrictive interpretations of the requirements.  Learn about advocacy and litigation that has been and can be undertaken to ensure that noncitizens have a fair chance to apply for the benefits and relief for which they are eligible.  

Recent Features

All Enforcement Content

Publication Date: 
April 27, 2011
California is home to nearly 10 million immigrants, more than one quarter of the state’s population. Of those, 2.7 million are undocumented, and the vast majority of them have been living in the...
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April 26, 2011
One year after the passage of Arizona’s tough new immigration law (SB1070), both opponents and proponents are...
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April 26, 2011
There is much confusion about the term “sanctuary city.” The term is often used derisively by immigration opponents to blast what are best described as community policing policies. Critics claim...
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March 24, 2011
Our national debate over urgently needed immigration reform is now careening through our state legislatures, city halls, and town councils due to political gridlock at the federal level. And nowhere...
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February 10, 2011
Since 1986, controlling illegal immigration by regulating who is entitled to work in the United States has been a key component of U.S. immigration policy. The ritual of showing proof of one’s...
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February 9, 2011
Before the onset of the Great Recession, immigrant labor was cited as a boom to the U.S. economy. In towns and cities across the country, immigrant labor—documented or otherwise—filled positions in...
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January 25, 2011
For many years, large-scale worksite raids constituted a major element of federal immigration enforcement. While the large-scale and well-publicized worksite raids have tapered, immigration...
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January 5, 2011
Immigration enforcement is an extremely important national priority. Effective control of our nation’s borders is essential to our national security. The regulation and control of those who enter...
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December 1, 2010
On June 30, 2010, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), John Morton, issued a memo to the agency that reflected the Obama administration’s oft repeated intent...
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November 23, 2010
In 2009, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detained approximately 380,000 people...
June 4, 2018

The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association filed an administrative complaint with the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), the Office of the...

May 22, 2018

The American Immigration Council submitted a written statement to the House Homeland Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security for a May 22, 2018 hearing on “Stopping the Daily Border Caravan:...

The requests ask for policies, guidelines, or procedures followed or used by immigration enforcement regarding the treatment of pregnant individuals in custody and any system used to track and monitor pregnant detainees.
April 18, 2018

The American Immigration Council submitted a written statement to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration for an April 18, 2018 hearing on “Strengthening and Reforming...

The requests ask for policies, guidelines, or procedures followed or used by the governmental agencies to address the processing and treatment of families at the U.S.-Mexico border and specifically, the separation of adult family members from minor children and the criminal prosecution of adult family members.
March 7, 2018
This policy document describes the legal liabilities local governments face when they honor ICE requests, known as “detainers,” to hold individuals past the completion of their criminal custody until immigration agents take them into administrative custody.
This lawsuit challenges the actions of immigration judges in Charlotte, North Carolina who have refused to conduct bond hearings for people who properly file bond motions with the Charlotte Immigration Court.
December 11, 2017
The practice of dividing families raises Constitutional due process concerns under the Fifth Amendment, violates United States’ obligations under international law, and contravenes voluminous evidence maintaining that family separation is not in the best interest of the child.
This lawsuit seeks to compel CBP to disclose the requested records concerning USBP agents’ practices.
Publication Date: 
October 13, 2017

The American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, filed an amicus brief in Crespin v. Evans.  The amicus brief argued that the pre-final...

March 4, 2022

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced that it has been developing and testing robot dogs for use by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) at the U.S.-Mexico border. The...

February 25, 2022

A federal court in Illinois recently approved a settlement agreement governing unlawful, warrantless arrests and vehicle stops. The settlement requires U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (...

February 14, 2022

The Omicron variant has spread through immigration detention like wildfire, with a record 14% of people in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody testing positive for COVID-19 as...

February 9, 2022

A skyrocketing number of migrant teens from Central America are finding their way into the undocumented workforce of the United States. They are doing rigorous, grueling work often meant for...

January 14, 2022

New leaked photos of Border Patrol stations in Yuma, Arizona show Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) inhumane treatment of people apprehended at the border— revealing that years of overcrowded...

January 12, 2022

Written by Caroline Walters and Kate Melloy Goettel  This week the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two related immigration cases. Each asks whether certain noncitizens are entitled to bond...

January 11, 2022

As the border has become harder to cross over the last few years, smugglers have increasingly turned to the use of vehicles to smuggle migrants. But along with this rise has come an increase in...

January 5, 2022

National Guard troops deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border face a grim reality, with their deployments plagued by substance abuse problems and discontent. Eight troops have committed suicide or died...

December 17, 2021

Immigration detention and enforcement in the United States under the first year of the Biden administration has been a mixture of improvements and setbacks. The Trump administration implemented...

December 15, 2021

By Katy Murdza and Rebekah Wolf, American Immigration Council staff Collaboration between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has led to...

July 22, 2019
Expanding expedited removal in this manner will create a 'show me your papers' regime of immigration enforcement where individuals—including any U.S. citizens they encounter—will be forced to prove they should not be deported. The American Immigration Council will not stand by idly as the Trump administration continues its unlawful attacks on our communities. We will see the Trump administration in court
July 15, 2019
The Trump administration announced a new rule that would bar many individuals seeking protection in the United States from being able to apply for asylum. The American Immigration Council believes we should not be afraid to embrace our humanitarian obligations in a way that respects the rule of law.
July 1, 2019
A report on interior immigration enforcement by the American Immigration Council examines newly disclosed government data on the Trump administration’s aggressive enforcement agenda. The report, “Changing Patterns of Interior Immigration Enforcement in the United States, 2016–2018,” reveals that U.S. citizens and immigrant women have become increasingly vulnerable to immigration enforcement actions under the administration.
June 22, 2019
Newly obtained documents from the Department of Health and Human Services released today by immigrant rights groups and The Houston Chronicle show that migrant children continued to be separated from their parents at the border nearly one year after the end of the “zero tolerance” policy.
June 19, 2019
A class action lawsuit challenges the Department of Homeland Security and its component agencies’ nationwide practice of failing to timely respond to requests for immigration files under the Freedom of Information Act.
May 2, 2019
The American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and The American Civil Liberties Union, filed a proposed amended complaint in federal court today in order to challenge the Trump administration’s new policy that categorically denies bond hearings to asylum seekers. The policy, announced April 16 by Attorney General William Barr, targets asylum seekers whom immigration officers previously determined have a “credible fear” of persecution or torture if returned to the places they fled.
April 29, 2019
Newly released government records reveal that the Department of Homeland Security monitored protest preparations across the United States and internationally in June 2018, as communities organized to oppose the Trump administration’s separation of children and parents at the southern border. The discovery follows other recent revelations that the government has been secretly monitoring activists, journalists, and immigrant rights defenders.
April 5, 2019
In a groundbreaking decision, a federal judge in Seattle dealt a blow to the government’s campaign to deter and obstruct asylum seekers applying for protection in the United States. Judge Marsha Pechman ordered the government to provide certain individuals with bona fide asylum claims either a bond hearing before an immigration judge within seven days of their request or to release them from detention.
March 7, 2019
A federal district court in Seattle, Washington has certified two nationwide classes of detained asylum seekers who are challenging the government’s delays in providing asylum interviews and bond hearings.
February 28, 2019
The Trump administration’s immigration enforcement policies have increased immigrants’ vulnerability to swift deportation, making the ability to access safeguard more important than ever. The American Immigration Council and the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law filed a lawsuit to disclose critical information about how the Board of Immigration Appeals interprets legal safeguards that would allow these individuals to seek reopening or reconsidering of their immigration cases, and prevent the irreparable harms that can result from deportation.
May 11, 2023

Back in February, when the Biden administration proposed a new regulation that would essentially restrict the vast majority of border crossers from qualifying for asylum, we broke it down with a...

May 9, 2023

With the pandemic-related expulsion policy “Title 42” set to expire May 11, the House GOP introduced its first large-scale border and immigration package on Monday. The bill combines three...

May 2, 2023

Title 42 – a policy that has allowed the U.S. government to expel border-crossers without giving them a chance to seek asylum – is expected to officially sunset next week. Federal courts prevented...

April 26, 2023

Last week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the launch of CeBONDS, a new system people can use to pay bonds and secure the release of individuals in immigration detention....

April 21, 2023

With all eyes on the U.S.-Mexico border ahead of the end of Title 42 on May 11, Texas lawmakers are pushing to increase the state’s role in enforcing federal immigration laws—despite Supreme Court...

April 20, 2023

A family with a baby, waiting outside in the cold overnight. A pregnant woman, enduring the elements for multiple days. An Afghan who worked for the U.S. Army as a translator, hoping for food and...

April 19, 2023

On Monday, April 17, the House GOP introduced its first comprehensive border bill of the 118th Congress. The bill comes after months of disagreement within the caucus surrounding legislative...

April 13, 2023

On April 6, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the death of 61 year-old Salvador Vargas at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA which occurred on April 4. Deaths in ICE...

April 10, 2023

The Biden administration is yet again turning to the Trump playbook as it tries to slap together a border crackdown to succeed the end of the Title 42 “public health” order next month. The latest...

April 6, 2023

Written by Raul Pinto and Rebekah Wolf of the American Immigration Council The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published the Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) for U.S. Immigration and...

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