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

May 19, 2017
The Trump administration’s approach will have devastating consequences for immigrant communities and will undermine, rather than improve, public safety.
May 9, 2017
Detained asylum seekers encounter numerous challenges, including the following problems detailed in this report.
April 24, 2017

The last time the Border Patrol received a large infusion of money to hire thousands of new agents, cases of corruption and misconduct spiked in the agency. New hires were not sufficiently vetted...

March 21, 2017
This fact sheet explains detainers, how they are used by federal and local enforcement, and the impact they have on immigrants.
February 27, 2017
The provisions in the order pose serious concerns for the protection and due process rights of those currently residing in the United States, communities along the U.S-Mexico border, and vulnerable...
January 25, 2017
This fact sheet includes changes resulting from the creation of the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) in 2014 and related legal decisions.
December 21, 2016
Too often, some or all of a detainee’s belongings are lost, destroyed, or stolen by the immigration-enforcement agents entrusted with their care.
August 31, 2016
This report examines what happens when “family detention” does not actually keep loved ones together and profiles the experiences of five asylum-seeking families who are divided by detention.
August 18, 2016
This report reveals that individuals are frequently held for days and sometimes even months in holding cells in Border Patrol sectors along the U.S.’ southwest border.
May 18, 2016
First-hand accounts from Central American women and their family members reveal the dangerous and bleak circumstances of life these women and their children faced upon return to their home countries...
July 17, 2020

The American Immigration Council joined a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security calling on the release of all families held at all three Immigration and Customs...

This lawsuit challenged ICE’s practice of transferring unaccompanied minors who turn 18 years old to adult custody in the agency’s contracted jails and prisons, without considering less restrictive placements.
The information will enhance the public’s understanding of steps U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has taken to protect detained individuals from an outbreak of COVID-19.
This Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeks to uncover information about the Migration Protection Protocols (MPP)—also known as the "Remain in Mexico" program.
May 12, 2020
The American Immigration Council filed this amicus curiae brief in support of individuals who sought release from detention due to their significant risk of infection from COVID-19.
May 7, 2020
The complaint calls on oversight agencies to demand immediate action by ICE to help stop the spread of the coronavirus where social distancing is not possible, including:

The American Immigration Council filed a lawsuit after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) failed to timely respond to the Council’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

The...

The Council filed a lawsuit to close the immigration courts and ensure due process.
March 23, 2020
This urgent letter from over 100 organizations expressing deep concern about the need for remote legal access and representation in immigration court and detention during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
May 27, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) recently found that the Trump administration deported as many as 348 parents that had been separated from their children...

May 26, 2021

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) mishandled the coronavirus outbreak in detention centers so badly that it not only lead to horrific conditions and deaths among people in its custody...

May 20, 2021

The Biden administration inherited an immigration enforcement system devoted to detaining and deporting as many people as possible. During the Trump years, every undocumented immigrant in the...

May 19, 2021

One policy first created by the Trump administration is responsible for the greatest restriction on access to our immigration system for asylum seekers than any other. It provides no meaningful...

May 17, 2021

Newly revealed government documents provide details on the extent of the Trump administration’s retaliation against people who provided legal assistance to asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border...

May 12, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently withdrew two rules proposed by the Trump administration. On the surface, it seems they have nothing in common: a proposed expansion in collecting...

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...

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.
March 27, 2020
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has upheld a ruling blocking a Trump administration policy that categorically denies bond hearings to asylum seekers. The case is Padilla v. ICE.
March 23, 2020
In a letter calling for prioritizing the health and safety of government employees, detained individuals, and their legal representatives amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, together with the National Immigrant Justice Center, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and more than 100 other organizations, urged the U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to immediately authorize the robust and automatic use of remote options for immigration court appearances and attorney-client meetings.
August 24, 2021
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to stay a ruling from a lower Texas court that would force the Biden administration to revive the Migrant Protection Protocols.
August 23, 2021
Immigration groups and judges urged the U.S. Supreme Court in an amicus brief to stay a Texas court ruling that would force the Biden administration to revive the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) – an illegal policy that forced asylum seekers to await their U.S. court dates in perilous conditions in Mexico.
August 23, 2021
This amicus brief urges the Supreme Court to stop the reinstatement of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), and halt the lower court's poorly reasoned and factually flawed decision.
August 23, 2021
Over the last two decades, the federal government increasingly has utilized the criminal courts to punish people for immigration violations. This overview provides basic information about entry-...
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 19, 2021
A Texas judge blocked the Biden administration’s immigration enforcement priorities. The decision was issued in a case challenging ICE’s enforcement activities outside the scope laid out in the Feb. 18 enforcement memo.
August 18, 2021
The Council and partner immigration groups and former immigration judges filed an amicus brief to stop the reinstatement of the Migrant Protection Protocols.
August 18, 2021
This brief highlights the court's many factual errors about MPP in its decision to reinstate the program.
August 17, 2021
As the Biden administration begins crafting next year's budget, 131 organizations published a statement for the Biden administration outlining the top immigration priorities that must be included in the country’s budget for Fiscal Year 2023.
August 17, 2021
The Council and more than 130 organizations urged the Biden administration to redirect government funding for fiscal year 2023 away from draconian enforcement measures and invest in legal services...

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