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

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June 17, 2009
The Department of Homeland Security released a report this week showing that apprehensions...
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March 9, 2009
The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), as well as the Heritage Foundation, have recently claimed that up to 300,000 construction jobs...
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December 17, 2008
Over the past year and a half, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona has transformed his police department into an immigration-enforcement agency, gaining international publicity in the...
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August 6, 2008
Over the past year and a half, County Sheriff Joe Arpaio of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) has transformed his police department into an immigration-enforcement agency, gaining...
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June 1, 2008
Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, changes in federal, state, and local law-enforcement priorities and practices have had a profound impact on America’s Muslims, Arabs, and South...
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May 22, 2008
While the U.S. government has poured billions upon billions of dollars into immigration enforcement, the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States has increased dramatically. Rather than...
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May 21, 2008
Since the mid-1980s, the federal government has tried repeatedly, without success, to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants to the United States with immigration-enforcement initiatives: deploying...
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May 1, 2008
This report provides an overview of SSA’s no-match letter program, a summary of DHS’s new supplemental proposed rule regarding no-match letters, and an overview of the unintended consequences of no-...
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March 25, 2008
Provides a summary of the new proposed "no-match" regulations and their harmful impact on workers, employers, and the Social Security Administration.
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September 1, 2007
By Jill Esbenshade, Ph.D. In this Special Report, author Jill Esbenshade finds that ordinance initiatives are correlated with a...
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October 4, 2013
The Council, along with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), is seeking to preserve federal court review of damages actions brought by noncitizens for abuse of authority by immigration agents. In actions brought under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), the government routinely moves to dismiss these cases on a variety of jurisdictional grounds, including by arguing that INA § 242(g) bars the court’s review of damages claims in any case involving removal procedures, and that a remedy under Bivens is not available in immigration-related actions. In essence, the government is attempting to deprive those who have been harmed by immigration agents of any remedy in federal court.
In March 2013, the American Immigration Council and Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, later joined by the Legal Aid Justice Center, filed a lawsuit alleging that CBP officers at Dulles Airport in Virginia unlawfully detained a U.S. citizen child for more than twenty hours, deprived her of contact with her parents, and then effectively deported her to Guatemala. The case was one of ten complaints filed the same week to highlight CBP abuses along the northern and southern borders.
In June 2012, the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, filed suit against DHS and CBP for unlawfully withholding records concerning voluntary returns of noncitizens from the United States to their countries of origin. Voluntary return, also known as “administrative voluntary departure,” is a procedure whereby CBP officers permit noncitizens to voluntarily depart the United States at their own expense rather than undergoing formal removal proceedings. Noncitizens may be granted voluntary return to their countries of origin after conceding unlawful presence in the United States and knowingly and voluntarily waiving the right to contest removal.
Co-Plaintiffs American Immigration Council and AILA’s Connecticut chapter initially sought records related to the Criminal Alien Program (CAP) through a FOIA request to ICE in December 2011. When ICE refused to release responsive records, Plaintiffs filed suit under FOIA to compel their disclosure.
On August 22, 2014, the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the National Immigration Law Center, Van Der Hout Brigagliano & Nightingale LLP, and Jenner & Block, filed this lawsuit in the federal district court for the District of Columbia. The case was a systemic challenge to the policies denying a fair deportation process to mothers and children detained in the Artesia Family Residential Center who had fled extreme violence, death threats, rape, and persecution in Central America and come to the United States seeking safety.

Advocates in states along the northern border of the United States have reported that Border Patrol agents frequently “assist” other law enforcement agencies by serving...

Based on reports from immigration advocates, CBP officers do not always provide noncitizens with information regarding the consequences of accepting voluntary return...

American Immigration Council and AILA’s Connecticut chapter initially sought records related to CAP through a FOIA request to ICE in December 2011. When ICE refused to release records responsive to the request, Plaintiffs filed suit under FOIA for declaratory and injunctive relief to compel the disclosure and release of agency records improperly withheld by DHS and its component ICE

Recommendations that DHS promulgate new regulations that ensure more effective oversight over the issuance of detainers and better protection for those subject to detainers.

Reducing Regulatory Burden; Retrospective Review Under Executive Order 13563, 76 Fed. Reg. 13526 (Mar. 14, 2011)
October 13, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) need to establish clear guidance for when ICE should release someone from detention. So far, the Biden...

October 13, 2021

The Biden administration just took a significant step toward reining in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued a...

October 8, 2021

In September, nearly 15,000 Haitians arrived near Del Rio, Texas seeking asylum in the United States. But rather than allowing them to seek protection, as is their right under United States law,...

October 6, 2021

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials improperly developed intelligence reports nicknamed “baseball cards” about individuals arrested in Portland, Oregon during the civil unrest...

October 1, 2021

On September 30, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued the long-awaited new set of enforcement priorities, entitled “Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil...

September 30, 2021

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced a new lawsuit on Tuesday seeking an order requiring the Biden administration to detain almost all people arriving at the Southwest border. It is the latest...

September 21, 2021

Roughly 14,000 Haitians arrived at the border across from Del Rio, Texas in mid-September and walked across the Rio Grande to seek asylum. Many first left Haiti in 2010 following a devastating...

September 16, 2021

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday stayed a significant part of an earlier decision by the Northern District of Texas that would have blocked the implementation of the Biden...

September 9, 2021

Proposed legislation in California that would further limit the state’s involvement in immigration detention has made progress toward becoming law. The VISION Act would prevent transfers to U.S....

September 7, 2021

A federal court concluded Thursday that the U.S. government’s turning back of asylum seekers at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border—primarily through a practice called metering—not only...

May 3, 2018
Through this request, the organizations seek more information regarding the treatment of pregnant individuals held in Immigration and Custom Enforcement custody and any system used to track and monitor pregnant detainees.
March 29, 2018
The practice of detaining pregnant women is inhumane and unsafe.
January 18, 2018
The lawsuit challenges the practice of three of the four sitting immigration judges in the Charlotte Immigration Court who refuse to conduct bond hearings—even though they are required to do so—and are consequently prolonging the detention of bond-eligible individuals for several weeks.
January 12, 2018
The Immigration Justice Campaign (Justice Campaign), a joint initiative between the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the American Immigration Council (Council), and the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN), located in Westminster, Colorado, announce their partnership to increase pro bono representation for individuals in immigration detention in Colorado.
December 11, 2017
A complaint on behalf of family members who have been forcibly separated while in custody at the southern border of the United States was filed with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General and Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.
October 8, 2017
The White House released its long anticipated, "Immigration Principles and Policies," which lay out many of the already-stated aspirations of the Trump administration on immigration. The laundry list represents a wholesale attack on immigration and immigrants. It includes not only limits on immigration generally, but enables mass deportations and envisions bypassing necessary procedures that protect children and asylum seekers.
September 26, 2017
The issues addressed in the complaint are of immediate concern given the Trump administration’s executive orders directing ICE to dramatically expand immigration enforcement actions and increase the number of individuals subject to immigration detention.
August 16, 2017
The parties in Dilley Pro Bono Project v. ICE have reached a settlement that ensures access to mental health evaluations for certain detained mothers and children seeking asylum.
July 12, 2017

Washington D.C. - Today an immigrant rights group and several asylum seekers filed a class action lawsuit against officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S.

June 28, 2017
A U.S. District Court condemned the federal government for continuing to disregard critical protections for children in detention.
February 28, 2023

In January and February of this year, the Biden administration announced new policies to process individuals seeking asylum at ports of entry at the U.S.-Mexico border. A key component of these...

February 27, 2023

The New York Times has published a horrifying investigation into the exploitation of children who migrated to the United States as unaccompanied minors. The investigation by Hannah Dreier finds...

February 17, 2023

In December 2022, the Supreme Court stepped in to keep Title 42 (the pandemic health policy that has allowed the United States to carry out over 2.5 million expulsions since March 2020) in effect...

February 10, 2023

In January, Republicans took control of the House of Representatives. After a lengthy fight over the Speaker of the House resolved, the new majority wasted no time in holding multiple hearings on...

February 10, 2023

Nearly 1,000 children separated from their families at the southern border by the Trump administration remain separated to this day, according to a Biden administration fact sheet released on...

February 8, 2023

When asylum seekers arrive in the United States, so long as they are not rapidly deported or expelled, the government is generally supposed to issue them a “Notice to Appear” (NTA). This charging...

February 3, 2023

Recently published data from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) provides insight into who ICE is detaining and for how long. The results show that the majority of noncitizens are being...

January 31, 2023

On January 26, the Second Circuit ruled against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a case that has broad implications for the public’s access to data held in immigration agency...

January 13, 2023

On January 5, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced new measures to process people seeking asylum at ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border who are asking to be exempt from...

January 12, 2023

Weeks after Title 42 was ordered to end in December 2022, the supposed “public health” policy is still effectively closing the border to many asylum seekers after an eleventh-hour order from the...

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