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...
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.
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...

October 29, 2021

By Emma Winger, Staff Attorney, American Immigration Council, and Eunice Cho, Sr. Staff Attorney, ACLU National Prison Project “Ben G.” is a 35-year-old veterinarian from Nicaragua who fled to the...

October 28, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued “Guidelines for Enforcement Actions in or Near Protected Areas”—a new memo that provides a framework for when and where DHS law enforcement...

October 26, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published new data last week showing that over the past 12 months, the Border Patrol has carried out nearly 1.7 million apprehensions at the southern...

October 21, 2021

In a split decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on October 20 lifted a lower court’s protections for medically vulnerable people locked up in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE...

October 19, 2021

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been known to improperly subject individuals in its custody to solitary confinement and has destroyed solitary confinement records in violation...

October 18, 2021

Two months after a federal court ordered the Biden administration to reinstate the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols (also known as “Remain in Mexico”), the administration announced that it...

October 13, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) need to establish clear guidance for when ICE should release someone from detention. So far, the Biden...

October 13, 2021

The Biden administration just took a significant step toward reining in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued a...

October 8, 2021

In September, nearly 15,000 Haitians arrived near Del Rio, Texas seeking asylum in the United States. But rather than allowing them to seek protection, as is their right under United States law,...

October 6, 2021

U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials improperly developed intelligence reports nicknamed “baseball cards” about individuals arrested in Portland, Oregon during the civil unrest...

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.
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...
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...

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