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: 
June 10, 2015

Each year, the Border Patrol, a division of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), holds hundreds of thousands of people in detention facilities near the southern border that are...

Publication Date: 
May 4, 2014
Of the 809 complaints of alleged abuse lodged against Border Patrol agents between January 2009 and January 2012, 97 percent resulted in “No Action Taken.” On average, CBP took 122 days to arrive at...
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April 28, 2014
The deportation process has been transformed drastically over the last two decades. Today, two-thirds of individuals deported are subject to what are known as “summary removal procedures,” which...
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March 13, 2014

No one can say with certainty when the Obama administration will reach the grim milestone of having deported two million people since the President took...

Publication Date: 
March 1, 2014
Despite some highly public claims to the contrary, there has been no waning of immigration enforcement in the United States.
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December 18, 2013
In late June 2012, the Supreme Court struck down three provisions of Arizona’s SB 1070 and left a fourth vulnerable to future legal challenge. As has been well documented, the Court’s rejection of SB...
Publication Date: 
December 10, 2013
This two-part series highlights the findings of the Migrant Border Crossing Study—a binational, multi-institution study of 1,110 randomly selected, recently repatriated migrants surveyed in six...
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August 1, 2013

On June 6, 2013, the House Judiciary Committee considered H.R. 2278, the “Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act,” commonly known as the SAFE Act. This...

Publication Date: 
August 1, 2013
The Criminal Alien Program (CAP) is an expansive immigration enforcement program that leads to the initiation of removal proceedings in many cases. While CAP has existed in one form or another for...
Publication Date: 
July 24, 2013
The House of Representatives and the Senate have embarked upon very different paths when it comes to immigration reform. On June 27, the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill—...
This request seeks information that will enhance the public’s understanding of steps ICE has taken to protect detained individuals from an outbreak of COVID-19.
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.
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”...

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 18, 2021

Data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shows that the number of individuals apprehended by the Border Patrol at the U.S.-Mexico border fell by 15% from September to October,...

November 16, 2021

Four years ago, immigration lawyers and advocates began to see a disturbing practice emerge: the U.S. government began to forcibly separate children—some very young—from their parents at the...

November 10, 2021

By Tsion Gurmu, Legal Manager and Staff Attorney at the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and Emily Creighton, Legal Director of Transparency The public watched in horror this September as U.S....

November 3, 2021

In a landmark court decision, Geo Group—one of the largest private prison companies that own and/or manage dozens of immigrant detention centers across the United States—was found to have violated...

July 28, 2020
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security released today a memo on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative that would deny all pending and future initial requests for DACA and reject all pending and future applications for advance parole absent exceptional circumstances. It would also shorten DACA renewals and the accompanying work authorization to one-year, rather than a two-year period.
July 2, 2020
A federal court has ruled that the failure of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to consider less restrictive settings before transferring unaccompanied immigrant youth to ICE detention on their 18th birthdays violates U.S. immigration laws.
June 23, 2020
A federal appeals court has ruled that a lawsuit against the Trump administration’s policy that sought to massively expand fast-track deportations without a fair legal process can continue. The court held that the lawsuit was properly brought, but rejected the claim that the administration had failed to follow the procedures provided under the Administrative Procedure Act.
May 27, 2020
The American Immigration Council's latest report examines major changes to the U.S. immigration system in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unique challenges the pandemic has created for noncitizens and government agencies.
May 14, 2020
The American Immigration Council, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Human Rights Watch, and the law firm Winston & Strawn LLP filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Northern District of California today to compel the release of records about the US Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program.
May 7, 2020
The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association , through their joint initiative the Immigration Justice Campaign, filed an oversight complaint with the Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the Office of the Inspector General highlighting the experiences of individuals detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
April 28, 2020
Today’s Court decision denying the emergency temporary restraining order in NIPNLG, et al., v. EOIR, et al., is deeply disappointing. This lawsuit was brought against the Executive Office for Immigration Review and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to protect the health of immigration attorneys, immigrants, and the public from the impact of dangerous and unconstitutional policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
April 22, 2020
President Donald Trump signed an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration to the United States. The order applies to many individuals currently outside the United States who do not yet have immigrant (permanent) visas.
April 8, 2020
Immigration groups moved for an emergency temporary restraining order against the Executive Office for Immigration Review and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in order to protect the health of immigration attorneys, immigrants, and the public from the impact of dangerous and unconstitutional policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
March 31, 2020
A federal court in Arizona allowed five asylum-seeking mothers and their children who were torn apart under the Trump administration’s family separation policy to move forward with a lawsuit against the United States for the cruel treatment and anguish U.S. immigration agencies inflicted on them. The court denied the government’s motion to dismiss the case.
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...

July 8, 2022

Since President Biden took office, he has faced attacks on his handling of the border from Governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida. Both states brought lawsuits against Biden’s...

June 30, 2022

Almost a year after the Supreme Court allowed a federal judge in Texas to order the Biden administration to restart the so-called “Migrant Protection Protocols” (MPP), the Supreme Court ruled in...

June 27, 2022

The House Appropriations Committee on Friday passed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill for Fiscal Year 2023, as part of the year-over-year process that Congress undertakes to...

June 10, 2022

The Supreme Court issued a decision on Wednesday barring a civil rights lawsuit against a U.S. Border Patrol agent for reportedly entering the property of a U.S. citizen without a warrant and...

May 23, 2022

Just three days before Title 42 was set to end on May 23, a federal judge in Louisiana blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from ending the controversial policy. With the...

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...

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