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.

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All Enforcement Content

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...
February 16, 2012
What You Need to Know if Your State is Considering Anti-immigrant Legislation...
February 6, 2012
By Michele Waslin The day that Alabama’s draconian anti-immigrant law...
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.
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...
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 8, 2011
(Updated November 2011) - Arizona’s infamous anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, has spawned many imitators. In a growing number of state houses around the country, bills have been passed or...
November 1, 2011
Turning Off the Water: How the Contracting and Transaction...
October 19, 2011
Many political pundits, GOP presidential aspirants, and Members of Congress want to have it both ways when it comes to federal spending on immigration. On the one hand, there is much talk about the...
October 6, 2011
One of the ugliest myths in the immigration debate is that immigrants are more likely to commit crime or pose a danger to society. Although studies repeatedly have shown that immigrants are less...
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers all too frequently deny individuals fleeing persecution and torture their right to seek protection in the United States, issue summary removal orders against them, and then falsify documents to support their illegal actions.
June 4, 2018

The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association filed an administrative complaint with the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties (CRCL), the Office of the...

May 22, 2018

The American Immigration Council submitted a written statement to the House Homeland Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security for a May 22, 2018 hearing on “Stopping the Daily Border Caravan:...

The requests ask for policies, guidelines, or procedures followed or used by immigration enforcement regarding the treatment of pregnant individuals in custody and any system used to track and monitor pregnant detainees.
April 18, 2018

The American Immigration Council submitted a written statement to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration for an April 18, 2018 hearing on “Strengthening and Reforming...

The requests ask for policies, guidelines, or procedures followed or used by the governmental agencies to address the processing and treatment of families at the U.S.-Mexico border and specifically, the separation of adult family members from minor children and the criminal prosecution of adult family members.
March 7, 2018
This policy document describes the legal liabilities local governments face when they honor ICE requests, known as “detainers,” to hold individuals past the completion of their criminal custody until immigration agents take them into administrative custody.
This lawsuit challenges the actions of immigration judges in Charlotte, North Carolina who have refused to conduct bond hearings for people who properly file bond motions with the Charlotte Immigration Court.
December 11, 2017
The practice of dividing families raises Constitutional due process concerns under the Fifth Amendment, violates United States’ obligations under international law, and contravenes voluminous evidence maintaining that family separation is not in the best interest of the child.
This lawsuit seeks to compel CBP to disclose the requested records concerning USBP agents’ practices.
September 15, 2020

A whistleblower has come forward to expose serious allegations of medical malpractice at a for-profit U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center in Ocilla, Georgia. The...

September 3, 2020

Days after Hurricane Laura tore through Louisiana, the situation for people held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities remains critical. ICE reportedly evacuated at least...

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...

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 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...

August 23, 2018
The complaint points to numerous examples, including that of Mrs. D.P., who was separated from her 9-year-old daughter for 47 days as a result of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' "zero-tolerance" border policy.
August 16, 2018
As government officials and policymakers weigh the potential expansion of family detention, this report reveals how detention impacts asylum-seeking families and their claims for protection.
July 26, 2018
"The government’s failure to comply with the court order to reunify the thousands of separated children and parents confirms the administration’s utter disregard for the humane and fair treatment of families coming to our country in search of protection."
July 9, 2018
Leaders of several immigrant and human rights organizations were invited for the first time under the Trump administration to meet with Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen.
June 27, 2018
The lawsuit asks the court to compel the agencies to produce family separation documents in response to FOIA requests submitted in April.
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, 2021
The United States has long guaranteed the right to seek asylum to individuals who arrive at our southern border and ask for protection. But since March 20, 2020, that fundamental right has been...
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 25, 2021
The Council and AILA sent a letter to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas urging the need for a functioning system of discretionary release within U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement (ICE).
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...

March 23, 2021
The nation has turned its attention to the current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, including the rise in immigrant children in U.S. government custody. Much of the conversation has focused on a supposed surge in arrivals under the Biden administration, but the current increase began well before President Biden took office.
March 19, 2021

A pause on border wall construction is set to expire on March 20, without an indication of what will happen next. President Biden signed a proclamation ordering the 60-day pause on his first day...

March 16, 2021
This fact sheet provides an overview of “aggravated felonies” under federal immigration law and the immigration consequences of being convicted of an “aggravated felony.”
The Council filed multiple Freedom of Information Act requests to unearth the systems that the government uses in immigration enforcement and the data it collects.
The Council and Advocates for Basic Legal Equality have launched an investigation into the abusive practices of CBP officers and cooperation with local law enforcement in Ohio.
March 9, 2021

The Biden administration announced new “enforcement priorities” for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on February 18. The priorities were an initial step away from the Trump administration...

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