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

May 19, 2017
The Trump administration’s approach will have devastating consequences for immigrant communities and will undermine, rather than improve, public safety.
May 9, 2017
Detained asylum seekers encounter numerous challenges, including the following problems detailed in this report.
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...

March 21, 2017
This fact sheet explains detainers, how they are used by federal and local enforcement, and the impact they have on immigrants.
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...
January 25, 2017
This fact sheet includes changes resulting from the creation of the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) in 2014 and related legal decisions.
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.
December 16, 2016
This fact sheet provides an overview of “aggravated felonies” under federal immigration law and the immigration consequences of being convicted of an “aggravated felony.”
August 31, 2016
This report examines what happens when “family detention” does not actually keep loved ones together and profiles the experiences of five asylum-seeking families who are divided by detention.
August 18, 2016
This report reveals that individuals are frequently held for days and sometimes even months in holding cells in Border Patrol sectors along the U.S.’ southwest border.
March 17, 2020
The letter notes public health concerns related to COVID-19 for individuals in Immigration and Customs Enforcement's custody in El Paso, the need for the immediate release of individuals who are at high risk, and recommending steps to mitigate the crisis for this population.
March 6, 2020

153 legal representation, refugee assistance, faith-based, human rights, and community groups—including the American Immigration Council—sent a letter to the Department of Homeland Security...

In December 2019, the National Archives approved a schedule for destruction of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) records which slates numerous categories of documents addressing...

January 31, 2020

The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association submitted an amicus brief in Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center v. Wolf, a case filed by the American...

The Migrant Protection Protocols—also known as Remain in Mexico—raises alarming safety and due process questions. However, the government has kept information on how the program is being implemented.
This lawsuit seeks to uncover information about the government’s troubling new practice of employing U.S. Custom and Border Protection officers to screen asylum seekers.
September 25, 2019
This statement shares our knowledge about these problems and inform the Subcommittee of these systemic human rights and due process violations. We hope that our perspective provides insight context for this important hearing.
The Council is seeking monetary damages on behalf of six asylum-seeking mothers and their children for the trauma they suffered when torn apart under the Trump Administration’s family separation policy.
September 4, 2019
The administrative complaint filed with government oversight agencies highlights a systematic failure to provide adequate medical care to children in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody. This violates CBP’s own internal guidance and extensive medical guidelines.
The Trump administration wants to increase its power to deport immigrants without a fair day in court through expedited removal. We’re suing.
August 3, 2020

The United States Border Patrol raided a humanitarian aid camp in Arizona on July 31, detaining volunteers and over 30 people receiving care. The camp—known as Byrd Camp—is run by No More Deaths (...

July 29, 2020

The Trump administration has been detaining immigrant children in hotels along the Texas-Mexico border and in Arizona. Some of the children are just a year old and are held in the hotels for weeks...

July 27, 2020

The May 25 killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police officers rightly sparked public outrage and protests throughout the United States. In response, the Trump administration deployed federal...

July 20, 2020

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced last week that it was launching a “Citizens Academy” in Chicago. The move justifiably generated everything from confusion to anger and fear...

July 16, 2020

Another man has died in immigration detention from COVID-19. His tragic and avoidable death marks the deadly end to a jail-to-deportation pipeline that disproportionately targets Black and Brown...

July 14, 2020

In a blow to government transparency, the Trump administration has decided to designate Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) a “security/sensitive agency.” The move further shields ICE from...

July 9, 2020

Even as President Trump downplays the threat of COVID-19, the Trump administration is using the pandemic as a pretext to bar more people from asylum in the United States. While the proposal is...

July 8, 2020

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security introduced their proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2021 (beginning October 1, 2020) this week. The budget would have significant...

July 6, 2020

Immigrant children who arrive in the United States without a parent are placed in shelters or foster care while their guardianship and immigration process play out. But all too often, U.S....

June 30, 2020

The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently published a report analyzing U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) treatment of noncitizens at the border in...

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.
July 30, 2019
A federal district court has rejected the government’s second attempt to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's unlawful turnbacks of asylum seekers who present themselves at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border – including its attempt to choke off asylum applications through a so-called “metering” process.
September 2, 2020

A Black former U.S. diplomat recently shared her experience of months of racial profiling by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials while she was stationed at the U.S. Consulate in...

September 1, 2020

A federal court on Monday halted a secretive program started under the Trump administration that allowed Border Patrol agents to be harsh gatekeepers to the asylum process. The court rejected the...

This request would show whether CBP is violating statutory protections intended for these youth.
August 27, 2020

Communication with the outside world is crucial for people in jail. This includes individuals facing deportation while detained in immigration detention centers, who do not have the right to court...

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.
August 24, 2020

Over 250,000 Americans donated a total of $25 million to the “We Build the Wall” campaign, a crowdfunding effort led in part by former White House Adviser Steve Bannon. The campaign alleged that...

August 20, 2020

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) top two officials are under scrutiny once again after a congressional oversight office found they were unlawfully appointed to their positions. The...

August 19, 2020

For many people planning to seek asylum in the United States, enforcement starts in Panama, over 3,000 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border. U.S. immigration agencies collaborate with Panama’s...

August 17, 2020

Immigration Nation, a six-episode docuseries that provides a rare view of the internal workings of immigration enforcement—and its impact on individuals and families—began streaming on Netflix in...

August 12, 2020

Asylum seekers got a major win in a lawsuit challenging the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) illegal policy of turning back asylum seekers at ports of entry. In Al Otro Lado v. Wolf, a...

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