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

July 1, 2019
To better understand the changing interior enforcement trends under the Trump administration, this report analyzes individual-level data on immigration enforcement outcomes.
December 5, 2018
This analysis reveals that individuals detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were commonly held in privately operated and remotely located facilities, far away from basic community...
September 6, 2018
The Legal Orientation Program (LOP) offers legal education, as well as referrals for free and low-cost legal counsel, to noncitizens in immigration detention.
August 16, 2018
This report presents findings from the first empirical analysis of asylum adjudication in family detention. Drawing on government data from over 18,000 immigration court proceedings initiated between...
March 7, 2018
Enforcement of U.S. immigration laws has historically been guided by policies that emphasize prioritization. However, this practice has largely been abandoned since the inauguration of President...
January 24, 2018
Parole under immigration law is very different than in the criminal justice context. In the immigration context, parole facilitates certain individuals’ entry into and permission to temporarily...
September 19, 2017
Mexican migrants suffer a host of violations, abuses, and ill treatment while in the custody of U.S. immigration authorities.
August 2, 2017
This report raises more concerns about misconduct throughout Border Patrol sectors and shows Customs and Border Patrol has made little progress in its efforts to improve accountability.
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.
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 Immigrant Customs Enforcement (ICE) failed to respond to a Freedom of Information...

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.
February 11, 2021

The U.S. Border Patrol has been rooted in institutional racism since its founding in 1924. Almost a century later, the agency continues to commit racially fueled violent acts with near impunity....

February 8, 2021

For more than 40 years, the law has guaranteed any person who is physically present in the United States a right to seek asylum. In 2019 the Trump administration attempted to effectively eliminate...

February 3, 2021

On February 2, 2021, following the confirmation of Alejandro Mayorkas as secretary of Homeland Security, President Biden signed three executive orders that take steps to further unwind the Trump...

January 26, 2021

In a blow to the Biden administration, a federal judge in Texas has ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) not to enforce its moratorium on deportations. President Biden had instructed...

January 22, 2021

On his first day in office, President Biden took significant steps towards undoing the harm of the Trump administration’s immigration policies—and reforming our punitive and inhumane enforcement...

January 11, 2021

Five years ago, Donald Trump descended an elevator and declared that Mexico was sending rapists and “bringing crime” across the border. Now, while America still reels from the deadly...

January 4, 2021

This article is part of the Moving Forward on Immigration series that explores the future of immigration in the aftermath of the 2020 presidential election.  When the Biden administration takes...

November 19, 2020

For years, the Trump administration has argued that limited capacity at ports of entry led to its policy of turning back asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border (the “turnback policy”). But a...

November 18, 2020

The Trump administration announced on November 17 that it plans to start denying work permits to people who have been ordered deported, but who have been released from immigration custody because...

November 11, 2020

Immigration detention was dangerous before President Trump took office four years ago. His policies—coupled with a deadly global pandemic—have only made the situation more dire. Immigration...

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.
February 19, 2020
A federal court ordered U.S. Customs and Border Protection to overhaul the way the agency detains people in its custody in the Tucson Sector. The court found that the conditions in CBP holding cells, especially those that preclude sleep over several nights, are presumptively punitive and violate the U.S. Constitution.
January 23, 2020
During the course of the trial, a federal judge heard from qualified experts who testified on the inadequate medical care and severe conditions inside CBP detention centers.
January 13, 2020
The trial in a legal challenge to the horrific conditions in U.S. Border Patrol's short-term detention facilities across the Tucson sector, filed in June 2015 by immigration groups, begins on Monday, Jan. 13 at the U.S. District Court in Tucson, Arizona.
November 20, 2019
The Trump administration published a new rule that seeks to implement safe third country agreements that the United States entered into with Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador—and bar many individuals seeking protection in the United States from being able to apply for asylum.
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...

March 9, 2021

Since 2013, the government has struggled to respond to increasing numbers of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. After disastrous Trump administration policies left...

March 5, 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court published a new decision on March 4 that will make it harder—if not impossible—for many longtime immigrants to fight deportation. The case, Pereida v. Wilkson, abandons...

March 2, 2021

The U.S. government has long relied on a punitive and outdated detention system to keep immigrants in its custody. Even when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) places people on...

March 2, 2021

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced last week that it would make changes to two family detention centers in Texas that would result in families spending less time in detention...

March 1, 2021
A new publication provides a snapshot of the extent of available services that help migrants navigate the complexities of the U.S. immigration system.
February 26, 2021
This fact sheet draws from original data gathered from hundreds of community-organizations around the country and provides a snapshot of the extent of available services that help migrants navigate...
February 19, 2021

For years, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has taken a harsh, punitive approach that has ripped families and communities apart. The Trump administration’s approach was particularly...

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