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...
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September 19, 2017
Mexican migrants suffer a host of violations, abuses, and ill treatment while in the custody of U.S. immigration authorities.
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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.
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May 19, 2017
The Trump administration’s approach will have devastating consequences for immigrant communities and will undermine, rather than improve, public safety.
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May 9, 2017
Detained asylum seekers encounter numerous challenges, including the following problems detailed in this report.
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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...

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March 21, 2017
This fact sheet explains detainers, how they are used by federal and local enforcement, and the impact they have on immigrants.
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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...
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January 25, 2017
This fact sheet includes changes resulting from the creation of the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) in 2014 and related legal decisions.
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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.
October 13, 2020
The American Immigration Council, the Immigration Defense Clinic at Colorado Law, and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, submitted a comment in opposition to the Department of Homeland Security proposed rule on the "Collection and Use of Biometrics by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services."
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...

April 1, 2022

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Friday that it will be terminating the Title 42 border policy. The U.S. government has used this policy to turn away asylum seekers and...

March 28, 2022

In a victory for government transparency, earlier this month a federal district court ordered the government to release the names of the Border Patrol agents involved in a program to screen asylum...

March 22, 2022

In an unprecedented move, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’) watchdog agency—the Office of the Inspector General (OIG)—just recommended that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE...

March 18, 2022

Last week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released its fiscal year 2021 annual report. In it, the agency reported a significant decrease in both overall deportations and internal...

March 11, 2022

The path toward commonsense federal immigration solutions seems to be continuing the cyclical and frustrating pattern of two steps forward, one step back. As soon as a measure is introduced—be it...

March 8, 2022

In just under two years, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has carried out over 1.5 million rapid “expulsions” of asylum seekers and migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border under Title 42, a...

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...

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.
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.
September 23, 2022

The Republican governors of Texas, Arizona, and now Florida are playing a cynical political game with the lives of migrants—including many asylum seekers fleeing persecution. Officials in these...

September 22, 2022

Written by Joseph Meyers, Staff Attorney at the National Immigration Project A group of immigrant advocacy organizations filed an amicus brief in United States v. Texas last week, in which they...

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...

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