Abuses

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 Abuses Content

Publication Date: 
February 10, 2021
This report presents a historical overview of how U.S. Border Patrol has been steeped in institutional racism and has committed violent acts with near impunity since its founding nearly 100 years ago...
Publication Date: 
September 19, 2017
Mexican migrants suffer a host of violations, abuses, and ill treatment while in the custody of U.S. immigration authorities.
Publication Date: 
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.
Publication Date: 
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...

Publication Date: 
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.
Publication Date: 
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.
Publication Date: 
December 17, 2015
These accounts reveal the dehumanizing conditions to which these women were subjected while in Border Patrol custody.
Publication Date: 
June 10, 2015

Each year, the Border Patrol, a division of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), holds hundreds of thousands of people in detention facilities near the southern border that are...

Publication Date: 
May 4, 2014
Of the 809 complaints of alleged abuse lodged against Border Patrol agents between January 2009 and January 2012, 97 percent resulted in “No Action Taken.” On average, CBP took 122 days to arrive at...
Publication Date: 
December 10, 2013
This two-part series highlights the findings of the Migrant Border Crossing Study—a binational, multi-institution study of 1,110 randomly selected, recently repatriated migrants surveyed in six...
This FOIA lawsuit seeks to compel U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to provide information about the agency’s treatment of Haitian nationals detained at the Torrance Detention Facility.
This FOIA lawsuit seeks records about Border Patrol activities at the Sandusky Bay Station located in northern Ohio to improve the public’s understanding of CBP’s enforcement practices at northern U.S. borders, including cooperation with local law enforcement.
September 10, 2021
In the amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court of Michigan, the Council and partners reject Calhoun County's position to withhold records that otherwise would be released under the Michigan state FOIA.
August 27, 2021
The Council submitted an amicus brief explaining why ICE should release usable immigration data. The amicus brief was filed in a case where the ACLU is seeking information about how individuals are impacted by ICE enforcement practices.
The Council and Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) are investigating the abuse and mistreatment of Black immigrants in ICE detention facilities located in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
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.
This Freedom of Information Act lawsuit calls on CBP to release records documenting the agency’s aggressive and militarized response to the provision of humanitarian aid.
Given the agency’s history of civil and human rights abuses that have largely gone unchecked, and the possibility of continued deployments, there is an urgent need for further information about CBP’s participation in these law enforcement efforts.
This Freedom of Information Act request seeks to uncover Customs and Border Protection’s actions and further expose its militarized response to the provision of humanitarian aid.
September 30, 2020

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is attempting to permanently destroy records related to civil rights complaints against the agency, administrative and criminal investigations into...

July 19, 2021
This practice advisory provides an overview of the Supreme Court’s decision in Bivens, the benefits and risks of bringing a Bivens claim, and practical and legal information about filing a Bivens claim in federal court.
October 5, 2022

Late last week, detention center warden Michael Sheppard and his twin brother Mark Sheppard were arrested after allegedly shooting into a group of 13 migrants, killing one and seriously injuring...

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...

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...

July 8, 2022

Since President Biden took office, he has faced attacks on his handling of the border from Governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida. Both states brought lawsuits against Biden’s...

June 10, 2022

The Supreme Court issued a decision on Wednesday barring a civil rights lawsuit against a U.S. Border Patrol agent for reportedly entering the property of a U.S. citizen without a warrant and...

May 10, 2022

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) announced in a May 6 memorandum that it would eliminate its Border Patrol Critical Incident Teams (BPCITs). The teams have faced criticism for their secretive...

March 22, 2022

In an unprecedented move, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’) watchdog agency—the Office of the Inspector General (OIG)—just recommended that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE...

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...

September 8, 2022
A federal court approved a settlement agreement in a lawsuit challenging the unlawful detention of unaccompanied children who turn 18 in U.S. government custody and are transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities.
September 22, 2021
A district court judge in Washington, D.C., ruled that ICE broke the law by detaining unaccompanied children who turned 18 and “aged out” of Office of Refugee Resettlement custody. The court ordered the agency to change its practices and procedures to avoid further unlawful detentions.
May 18, 2021
The Council and Black Alliance for Just Immigration filed 10 FOIA requests to uncover what is happening inside immigration detention facilities and how ICE treats incarcerated Black immigrants in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
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.
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.
September 8, 2022
A federal court approved a settlement agreement in a lawsuit challenging the unlawful detention of unaccompanied children who turn 18 in U.S. government custody and are transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities.
This FOIA lawsuit seeks to compel U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to provide information about the agency’s treatment of Haitian nationals detained at the Torrance Detention Facility.
Last modified: 
June 30, 2022
Publication Date: 
June 30, 2022
The American Immigration Council and 102 other organizations urge the Department of Homeland Security paroled into the United States and give assistance in applying for protection to survivors of the...
October 5, 2022

Late last week, detention center warden Michael Sheppard and his twin brother Mark Sheppard were arrested after allegedly shooting into a group of 13 migrants, killing one and seriously injuring...

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...

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...

July 8, 2022

Since President Biden took office, he has faced attacks on his handling of the border from Governors Greg Abbott of Texas and Ron DeSantis of Florida. Both states brought lawsuits against Biden’s...

June 10, 2022

The Supreme Court issued a decision on Wednesday barring a civil rights lawsuit against a U.S. Border Patrol agent for reportedly entering the property of a U.S. citizen without a warrant and...

May 10, 2022

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) announced in a May 6 memorandum that it would eliminate its Border Patrol Critical Incident Teams (BPCITs). The teams have faced criticism for their secretive...

Publication Date: 
March 24, 2022
The American Immigration Council filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security's oversight bodies urging an investigation into racial discrimination and excessive use of force at the...

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