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: 
April 17, 2012
In April, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Arizona v. United States, a case addressing the legality of the Arizona immigration law known as SB 1070. According to the statement...
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April 17, 2012
In April 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released two long-awaited reports on the Secure Communities Program: Operations of United States...
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April 11, 2012
Discretion takes many forms throughout the immigration enforcement process. Every removal of a noncitizen from the United States, for example, reflects a series of complex choices which reflect...
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April 1, 2012
Proportionality is the notion that the severity of a sanction should not be excessive in relation to the gravity of an offense. The principle is ancient and nearly uncontestable, and its operation...
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February 23, 2012
As federal officers, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents may only exercise the authority granted under federal statutes and regulations. This fact sheet provides a snapshot of search, interrogation...
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February 16, 2012
What You Need to Know if Your State is Considering Anti-immigrant Legislation...
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February 6, 2012
By Michele Waslin The day that Alabama’s draconian anti-immigrant law...
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November 29, 2011
This paper describes the Secure Communities program, identifies concerns about the program’s design and implementation, and makes recommendations for the future of the program.
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November 29, 2011
The Secure Communities Program, which launched in March 2008, has been held out as a simplified model for state and local cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. This fact sheet lays out...
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November 9, 2011
Although key provisions of Alabama’s HB 56 are on hold while its constitutionality is being tested in the courts, evidence is mounting of the growing fiscal and economic impact of the new law. State...
November 6, 2018
The Trump administration proposed new regulations undermining the 1997 Flores settlement agreement. If the proposed regulations are finalized, they would weaken protections for children and place them at greater risk of trauma and mistreatment.
September 18, 2018

The American Immigration Council and American Immigration Lawyers Association submitted a written statement to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and...

This case challenges the punitive practice of keeping asylum seekers in custody for weeks or months without access to credible fear interviews or bond hearings and the lack of basic procedural protections—like hearing transcripts and written decisions—in bond hearings, as well as whether asylum seekers must bear the burden of proof in bond proceedings.
August 23, 2018

The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy led to not only to the forcible separation of thousands of children from their parents, but the extreme duress and coercion of...

This lawsuit seeks to compel U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to release records relating to CBP’s complaint process and actions taken in response to complaints made to CBP concerning its agents and officers since January 1, 2012.
July 31, 2018
The statement shares our analysis and research regarding the nation's asylum system and the obligations of the U.S. government to asylum seekers, as well as our deep concern around the administration's family separation policies and increased prosecution of migrants.
July 31, 2018
The American Immigration Council submitted a written statement to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for a July 31, 2018 hearing on “Oversight of Immigration Enforcement and Family Reunification Efforts.”

With the end of prosecutorial discretion under the Trump administration, noncitizens living in the United States with a removal order face quick, and almost certain deportation unless they have...

The American Immigration Council filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with ICE and CBP on October 13, 2017, seeking data on enforcement actions and outcomes since January 2016. With this data, the Council will be able to assess who is being targeted for removal and what the consequences are of the current enforcement framework.
This lawsuit seeks to compel government agencies to produce documents regarding family separation policies.
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...

August 25, 2021

The Supreme Court refused to block an order to reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy. The decision comes after a Texas judge halted the government...

August 20, 2021

Judge Drew Tipton of the Southern District of Texas on August 19 blocked a set of enforcement priorities the Biden administration had issued in January and February 2021 in an attempt to focus...

August 16, 2021

The Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program, inflicted extreme harm on vulnerable people seeking asylum at the border beginning in...

August 13, 2021

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced this week a new policy designed to honor and protect vulnerable immigrants. The new policy addresses protections for survivors of violence...

August 10, 2021

A new Illinois law limiting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention is expected to effectively end detention in the state by next year. The law goes further than those that have...

August 6, 2021

A federal judge on Tuesday dealt an important blow to Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s flawed plan to stop migrants from entering and traveling through Texas. Governor Abbott issued an executive order...

August 5, 2021

It is unquestionable that technology creates efficiencies. But efficiency should not come at the total expense of privacy. A new app from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) toes that line...

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.
July 22, 2019
Expanding expedited removal in this manner will create a 'show me your papers' regime of immigration enforcement where individuals—including any U.S. citizens they encounter—will be forced to prove they should not be deported. The American Immigration Council will not stand by idly as the Trump administration continues its unlawful attacks on our communities. We will see the Trump administration in court
July 15, 2019
The Trump administration announced a new rule that would bar many individuals seeking protection in the United States from being able to apply for asylum. The American Immigration Council believes we should not be afraid to embrace our humanitarian obligations in a way that respects the rule of law.
July 1, 2019
A report on interior immigration enforcement by the American Immigration Council examines newly disclosed government data on the Trump administration’s aggressive enforcement agenda. The report, “Changing Patterns of Interior Immigration Enforcement in the United States, 2016–2018,” reveals that U.S. citizens and immigrant women have become increasingly vulnerable to immigration enforcement actions under the administration.
June 22, 2019
Newly obtained documents from the Department of Health and Human Services released today by immigrant rights groups and The Houston Chronicle show that migrant children continued to be separated from their parents at the border nearly one year after the end of the “zero tolerance” policy.
June 19, 2019
A class action lawsuit challenges the Department of Homeland Security and its component agencies’ nationwide practice of failing to timely respond to requests for immigration files under the Freedom of Information Act.
May 2, 2019
The American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and The American Civil Liberties Union, filed a proposed amended complaint in federal court today in order to challenge the Trump administration’s new policy that categorically denies bond hearings to asylum seekers. The policy, announced April 16 by Attorney General William Barr, targets asylum seekers whom immigration officers previously determined have a “credible fear” of persecution or torture if returned to the places they fled.
Publication Date: 
March 24, 2022
The American Immigration Council filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security's oversight bodies urging an investigation into racial discrimination and excessive use of force at the...
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 18, 2022
In a damning report citing unsafe and unsanitary conditions at the Torrance County Detention Facility in New Mexico released today by DHS's oversight body urged ICE to immediately remove and relocate people detained at the ICE immigration detention center located in Estancia, New Mexico.
Publication Date: 
March 17, 2022
This new fact sheet provides an overview of the wide range of programs that provide alternatives to detention (ATDs) and run the gamut from no governmental intervention to extensive surveillance and...
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...

Publication Date: 
March 4, 2022
This Council fact sheet provides an overview and analysis of border encounters and border apprehensions in 2021.
Publication Date: 
February 28, 2022
The Council joined 134 other organizations in a letter calling on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Executive Office for Immigration Review to rescind the “Security Bars and...

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