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 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.
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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.
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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...
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May 16, 2016

Over the past few years, thousands of children—many fleeing horrific levels of violence in Central America—have arrived at the U.S. border in need of protection. Most children are placed in...

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February 1, 2016
The unprecedented levels of crime and violence that have overwhelmed the Northern Triangle countries in recent years have produced a refugee situation for those directly in the line of fire, making...
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December 17, 2015
These accounts reveal the dehumanizing conditions to which these women were subjected while in Border Patrol custody.
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November 1, 2015
This examination of the Criminal Alien Program's outcomes from fiscal years 2010 to 2013 offers important insights into CAP’s operations over time and its potential impact on communities moving...
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October 10, 2015
The term “sanctuary city” is often used incorrectly to describe trust acts or community policing policies that limit entanglement between local police and federal immigration authorities. Here are...
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July 22, 2015

For decades, the U.S. refugee protection system has been a symbol of the nation’s generosity and openness to the world’s persecuted. Yet since Congress’ enactment of the Illegal Immigration Reform...

Publication Date: 
June 26, 2015
This Guide provides information about the tens of thousands of children—some travelling with their parents and others alone—who have fled their homes in Central America and arrived at our southern...
July 21, 2020

The American Immigration Council signed on to a letter calling on Congress to demand greater transparency from Immigration and Customs Enforcement regarding Cameroonian and other Black...

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.
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...

February 25, 2022

A federal court in Illinois recently approved a settlement agreement governing unlawful, warrantless arrests and vehicle stops. The settlement requires U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (...

February 14, 2022

The Omicron variant has spread through immigration detention like wildfire, with a record 14% of people in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody testing positive for COVID-19 as...

February 9, 2022

A skyrocketing number of migrant teens from Central America are finding their way into the undocumented workforce of the United States. They are doing rigorous, grueling work often meant for...

January 14, 2022

New leaked photos of Border Patrol stations in Yuma, Arizona show Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) inhumane treatment of people apprehended at the border— revealing that years of overcrowded...

January 12, 2022

Written by Caroline Walters and Kate Melloy Goettel  This week the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two related immigration cases. Each asks whether certain noncitizens are entitled to bond...

January 11, 2022

As the border has become harder to cross over the last few years, smugglers have increasingly turned to the use of vehicles to smuggle migrants. But along with this rise has come an increase in...

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 17, 2020
Judge William H. Orrick granted summary judgment in favor of two nationwide classes suing DHS, USCIS, and ICE for failing to timely produce the class members’ immigration files (A-Files). The court ordered the agencies to clear their backlogs by responding to the more than 40,000 thousand cases outstanding within 60 days.
November 12, 2020
The American Immigration Council, other immigrant rights organizations, and legal service providers filed a friend-of-the-court (or amicus) brief with the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief urges the justices to find that immigrants who seek humanitarian protection from removal should have access to bond hearings—instead of being subjected to mandatory detention.
October 30, 2020
Children and immigration advocacy groups filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of Illinois against CBP requesting information about the agency’s implementation of the CDC rule suspending people from entering the United States due to the COVID 19 pandemic and its specific impact on unaccompanied migrant children fleeing harm and seeking protection in the United States.
October 28, 2020
Civil and immigrants’ rights organizations filed a FOIA lawsuit today in the Eastern District of New York against CBP demanding information about the federal agency’s involvement in domestic policing at protests, demonstrations, and gatherings across the United States following the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minnesota.
September 15, 2020
AILA and the American Immigration Council are calling on Congress to initiate an immediate and thorough investigation into conditions and medical care at ICE detention centers following the disturbing news reports yesterday about the lack of COVID-19 protections and inadequate medical care, including a report that a number of women detained at the Irwin detention center in Ocilla, Georgia were unnecessarily subject to hysterectomies.
September 8, 2020
Asylum seekers who have been turned back by U.S. Customs and Border Protection from ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border asked a federal court to permanently stop the Trump administration’s Turnback Policy and declare it unlawful.
August 26, 2020
Individuals in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody at the Otero County Processing Center filed a motion for preliminary injunction to stop ICE from denying detained individuals the ability to contact their lawyers and the outside world by phone.
August 6, 2020
A federal judge has granted class certification in Al Otro Lado v. Wolf, a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s policy of turning back asylum seekers at ports of entry. The ruling provides that the challenge to the Turnback Policy will continue on behalf of all asylum seekers along the U.S.-Mexico border who were or will be prevented from accessing the asylum process at ports of entry as a result of the government’s Turnback Policy.
August 4, 2020
The public has a right to know the safeguards that the government has in place to prevent the unnecessary illness and possible death of numerous individuals still reporting to work in immigration courts throughout the country.
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.
September 23, 2022

The Republican governors of Texas, Arizona, and now Florida are playing a cynical political game with the lives of migrants—including many asylum seekers fleeing persecution. Officials in these...

September 22, 2022

Written by Joseph Meyers, Staff Attorney at the National Immigration Project A group of immigrant advocacy organizations filed an amicus brief in United States v. Texas last week, in which they...

September 7, 2022

There is no doubt that fentanyl is a major problem inside the United States. Over the last decade, rising availability of fentanyl has caused a spike in overdose deaths across the nation. In 2021...

September 6, 2022

Border Patrol agents in Arizona have been confiscating and not returning the turbans worn by Sikh asylum seekers as part of their religion. Immigrant advocates and members of Congress have pointed...

August 18, 2022

As midterm election season heats up, House Republicans on the “American Security Task Force” have produced a new framework for what they say is a plan to “secure the border.” Despite the claim of...

August 10, 2022

The lack of a major overhaul in the United States’ immigration system for roughly thirty years has created an ecosystem where states have attempted to insert their authority over immigration,...

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...

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