Enforcement

While updating our immigration system has been a slow process, over the last decade, there have been efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation and the DREAM Act. Other reform efforts include executive actions such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). Learn more about the ways America can upgrade its immigration system.

Recent Features

All Enforcement Content

Publication Date: 
March 7, 2018
Enforcement of U.S. immigration laws has historically been guided by policies that emphasize prioritization. However, this practice has largely been abandoned since the inauguration of President...
Publication Date: 
September 19, 2017
Mexican migrants suffer a host of violations, abuses, and ill treatment while in the custody of U.S. immigration authorities.
Publication Date: 
August 2, 2017
This report raises more concerns about misconduct throughout Border Patrol sectors and shows Customs and Border Patrol has made little progress in its efforts to improve accountability.
Publication Date: 
May 19, 2017
The Trump administration’s approach will have devastating consequences for immigrant communities and will undermine, rather than improve, public safety.
Publication Date: 
May 9, 2017
Detained asylum seekers encounter numerous challenges, including the following problems detailed in this report.
Publication Date: 
April 24, 2017

The last time the Border Patrol received a large infusion of money to hire thousands of new agents, cases of corruption and misconduct spiked in the agency. New hires were not sufficiently vetted...

Publication Date: 
March 21, 2017
This fact sheet explains detainers, how they are used by federal and local enforcement, and the impact they have on immigrants.
Publication Date: 
February 27, 2017
The provisions in the order pose serious concerns for the protection and due process rights of those currently residing in the United States, communities along the U.S-Mexico border, and vulnerable...
Publication Date: 
January 25, 2017
This fact sheet includes changes resulting from the creation of the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) in 2014 and related legal decisions.
Publication Date: 
December 21, 2016
Too often, some or all of a detainee’s belongings are lost, destroyed, or stolen by the immigration-enforcement agents entrusted with their care.
September 30, 2020

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is attempting to permanently destroy records related to civil rights complaints against the agency, administrative and criminal investigations into...

September 15, 2020
This new rule will increase the total number of people who are required to submit biometric data from 3.9 million currently to 6.07 million—an increase of more than 60%.
This request would show whether CBP is violating statutory protections intended for these youth.
August 7, 2020
In the amicus brief, the Council and partners documented the reliance on these records by researchers and advocates to monitor and expose troubling practices.
August 5, 2020

The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association submitted a comment opposing the regulation "Security Bars and Processing." 

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, immigration courts have frequently closed without explanation or notice to the public. This Freedom of Information Act request seeks records on the government's response.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request demands records regarding all CBP deployments to U.S. cities during the protests of George Floyd's death.
July 21, 2020

The American Immigration Council signed on to a letter calling on Congress to demand greater transparency from Immigration and Customs Enforcement regarding Cameroonian and other Black...

July 17, 2020

The American Immigration Council joined a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security calling on the release of all families held at all three Immigration and Customs...

This lawsuit challenged ICE’s practice of transferring unaccompanied minors who turn 18 years old to adult custody in the agency’s contracted jails and prisons, without considering less restrictive placements.
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...

December 14, 2021

President Biden took office committing to unwind Trump’s border policies and go in a new direction—to reunite families, restore access to asylum, and reverse “policies enacted over the last 4...

December 3, 2021

Following months of negotiations with Mexico, the Biden administration announced that it would reinstate the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols (informally known as the “Remain in Mexico”...

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.
January 7, 2021
Immigrant rights advocates moved for a temporary restraining order to block the Trump administration’s latest attempt to circumvent an earlier court order prohibiting the government from applying an asylum ban to people whom U.S. Customs and Border Protection had previously turned away from ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border.
December 17, 2020
Judge William H. Orrick granted summary judgment in favor of two nationwide classes suing DHS, USCIS, and ICE for failing to timely produce the class members’ immigration files (A-Files). The court ordered the agencies to clear their backlogs by responding to the more than 40,000 thousand cases outstanding within 60 days.
November 12, 2020
The American Immigration Council, other immigrant rights organizations, and legal service providers filed a friend-of-the-court (or amicus) brief with the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief urges the justices to find that immigrants who seek humanitarian protection from removal should have access to bond hearings—instead of being subjected to mandatory detention.
October 30, 2020
Children and immigration advocacy groups filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of Illinois against CBP requesting information about the agency’s implementation of the CDC rule suspending people from entering the United States due to the COVID 19 pandemic and its specific impact on unaccompanied migrant children fleeing harm and seeking protection in the United States.
October 28, 2020
Civil and immigrants’ rights organizations filed a FOIA lawsuit today in the Eastern District of New York against CBP demanding information about the federal agency’s involvement in domestic policing at protests, demonstrations, and gatherings across the United States following the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minnesota.
September 15, 2020
AILA and the American Immigration Council are calling on Congress to initiate an immediate and thorough investigation into conditions and medical care at ICE detention centers following the disturbing news reports yesterday about the lack of COVID-19 protections and inadequate medical care, including a report that a number of women detained at the Irwin detention center in Ocilla, Georgia were unnecessarily subject to hysterectomies.
September 8, 2020
Asylum seekers who have been turned back by U.S. Customs and Border Protection from ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border asked a federal court to permanently stop the Trump administration’s Turnback Policy and declare it unlawful.
August 26, 2020
Individuals in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody at the Otero County Processing Center filed a motion for preliminary injunction to stop ICE from denying detained individuals the ability to contact their lawyers and the outside world by phone.
Publication Date: 
May 16, 2022
This fact sheet describes the organizational structure of immigration detention oversight, the standards by which detention centers are governed, where to file complaints regarding ICE detention, and...
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...

Publication Date: 
May 3, 2022
This research brief highlights the key role that new Americans are playing in Utah as participants in the state’s workforce, taxpayers, consumers, entrepreneurs, international students, and more.
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 25, 2022
This practice advisory identifies who falls under the classification of “arriving noncitizens,” discusses the regulations delineating USCIS vs. EOIR jurisdiction over adjustment applications of arriving noncitizens in removal proceedings and suggests strategies to facilitate the adjustment of status of eligible parolees in removal proceedings before they are removed.
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...

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