Enforcement

The enforcement of immigration laws is a complex and hotly-debated topic. Learn more about the costs of immigration enforcement and the ways in which the U.S. can enforce our immigration laws humanely and in a manner that ensures due process.

Recent Features

All Enforcement Content

Publication Date: 
August 20, 2010
Arizona politicians who support the state’s sweeping anti-immigrant law (SB 1070) are not particularly fond of...
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July 27, 2010
Arizona and the federal government await a decision from a Phoenix district judge on whether enforcement of SB 1070 will move forward on July 29th, or whether all or some parts of the law will be...
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July 22, 2010
What proponents of laws like Arizona’s SB 1070 fail to understand is that state and local enforcement of immigration law actually jeopardizes the federal government’s ability to set priorities for...
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June 22, 2010
Updated 06/22/10 Supporters of Arizona’s harsh new immigration law claim that it is, in part, a crime-fighting measure. For instance, the bill’s author, Republican State Senator Russell...
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June 17, 2010
While visiting Phoenix, AZ in late January with a group of evangelical leaders who were in the border region to learn more about immigration, I met an immigrant family struggling to survive in a...
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May 26, 2010
Immigration Enforcement without Immigration Reform Doesn’t Work This week, the Senate will consider amendments to the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill that would add thousands of additional...
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May 26, 2010
UPDATED 05/26/10 - Arizona’s controversial new immigration law (SB 1070) is the latest in a long line of efforts to regulate...
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May 21, 2010
The intent of Arizona’s SB 1070, the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act,” is to chase illegal immigrants out of the state. Or, as the new law puts it more formally: “to make...
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April 26, 2010
Many people believe that only illegal immigrants are deported. However, thousands of long-term legal immigrants are deported each year. While some are deported for committing serious crimes, many...
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April 15, 2010
The Secure Border Initiative (SBI), launched by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2005, is a cautionary tale of the dangers inherent in seeking a technological quick fix to the problem of...
January 13, 2017
A coalition of immigrant and civil rights groups filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties on behalf of numerous adult men and women, families and unaccompanied children who, over the past several months, were denied entry to the United States at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border despite having asserted a fear of returning to their home countries or an intention to seek asylum under U.S. law.
The Council and its partners filed suit after CBP failed to respond to a 2013 FOIA After the case was filed, CBP disclosed only a handful of documents—primarily, indices of two ORT chapters without any substantive information—and then moved for summary judgment, claiming that it was not required to search for or produce any additional documents.
October 25, 2016
The American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the American Immigration Law Association, filed an amicus brief in the case Jennings v. Rodriguez, calling for the Court to overturn Demore v. Kim and end mandatory detention.
September 16, 2016
The statement calls to attention our concerns about over-broad enforcement actions and detention of asylum seekers and families.
September 15, 2015

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

July 23, 2015
The statement explains our recent research which shows that immigrants are less likely to commit serious crimes than native-born persons, and that high rates of immigration are associated with lower rates of violent crime and property crime.
The class-action lawsuit complaint alleges that Tucson Sector Border Patrol holds men, women, and children in freezing, overcrowded, and filthy cells for days at a time in violation of the U.S. Constitution and CBP’s own policies.
In March 2015, the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the Law Office of Stacy Tolchin, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, filed a class action lawsuit against CBP over its nationwide pattern and practice of failing to timely respond to requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The plaintiffs included both immigration attorneys and individuals, all of whom had FOIA requests pending for over 20 business days.
On October 21, 2014, the American Immigration Council, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, with co-counsel, the National Immigration Law Center and Jenner & Block LLP, filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act to compel the release of government documents regarding the use of the expedited removal process against families with children, including those detained by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Artesia, New Mexico. The suit was filed in the federal district court for the Southern District of New York.
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.
May 7, 2021

Every year the U.S. government locks up thousands of non-citizens in a prison system few Americans know about—the immigration detention system. Though immigration detention is termed “civil”...

May 4, 2021

The Biden administration has ended a Trump-era policy of denying so-called sanctuary cities from receiving certain forms of federal funding. The policy had been used in retaliation against local...

April 22, 2021

This blog is the second in a three-part series examining President Biden’s first 100 days in office from the Immigration Justice Campaign. Many of us will always vividly remember the fear and lack...

April 20, 2021

This blog is the first in a three-part series from the Immigration Justice Campaign. Reflecting on his release from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, Thomas,* a man who fled...

April 13, 2021

A record number of migrant children are arriving to the U.S.-Mexico border alone. In March 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered nearly 19,000 unaccompanied minors—the most to...

April 8, 2021

Only days after President Biden took office, some people were already declaring that the border was in a state of crisis. But recently released U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics reveal...

April 6, 2021

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers—which often suffer from cramped conditions and poor access to medical care—are highly conducive to the spread of COVID-19. But ICE...

April 2, 2021

Over the last two months, the Biden administration has been pressured to carry out another crackdown at the border as the number of arriving families and children rise. But officials making these...

March 26, 2021

After almost two years in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, Martin Vargas Arellano was released to a hospital on March 5. ICE did not notify his family or attorney. Three...

March 23, 2021

The current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border—including the rise in immigrant children in U.S. government custody—has captured the nation’s attention in recent weeks. Much of the conversation...

June 20, 2018
President Donald Trump signed an executive order today to try to stem criticism of his family separation policy. He has offered an unacceptable alternative: imprisoning mothers and fathers with their children.
June 7, 2018
José Crespo Cagnant filed a lawsuit to hold the government accountable for abusive, unlawful conduct and depriving him of an opportunity to apply for asylum.
June 4, 2018
The complaint, filed on behalf of individuals who are and were detained at the Aurora facility, highlights the ways in which weak, insufficient medical practices threaten the health and well-being of detainees and directly impact their ability to pursue their immigration and asylum claims.
May 7, 2018
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting Director Thomas Homan announced today that the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security will be stepping up prosecutions of individuals along the southern border—likely resulting in the criminalization of asylum seekers and more family separation.
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.
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...

Publication Date: 
December 17, 2021
The Council condemned the Biden administration's expansion of MPP and continued use of Title 42 to turn away asylum seekers at the border.
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”...

November 30, 2021

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) plan to collect information from more individuals before they arrive at the border has raised questions about how the agency will gather and use the...

November 30, 2021
Immigration advocacy groups filed a FOIA lawsuit against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement requesting ICE’s internal reports on enforcement activities and removals under the Biden-Harris administration’s interim enforcement priorities.
Publication Date: 
November 29, 2021
The Council and AILA summited comments on a DHS and CBP information collection request for the processing of undocumented immigrants at ports of entry at land borders, but the organizations remain...
This FOIA lawsuit seeks to compel DHS and ICE to disclose the weekly reports ICE was required to produce about their enforcement activities and removals pursuant to the DHS’ January 20 and February 18 memos establishing new immigration enforcement priorities.
Publication Date: 
November 29, 2021
The Institutional Hearing Program permits immigration judges to conduct removal proceedings for noncitizens serving criminal sentences in certain correctional facilities.

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