Border 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 Border Enforcement Content

Publication Date: 
April 2, 2013
Since the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created in 2003, its immigration-enforcement agencies—Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)—have been...
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January 8, 2013
With roughly 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States, some question whether the nation’s immigration laws are being seriously enforced. In truth, due to legal and policy...
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September 25, 2012
Advocates along the Northern Border report a recent, sharp increase in the use of U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) agents to provide interpretation services to state and local law enforcement officers and...
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February 23, 2012
As federal officers, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents may only exercise the authority granted under federal statutes and regulations. This fact sheet provides a snapshot of search, interrogation...
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October 19, 2011
Many political pundits, GOP presidential aspirants, and Members of Congress want to have it both ways when it comes to federal spending on immigration. On the one hand, there is much talk about the...
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September 12, 2011
The external borders of the United States matter to security, but how and in what ways is neither automatic nor obvious. The current assumption is that borders defend the national interior against...
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September 1, 2011
If the United States wants effective border security, then more effective law‐enforcement measures must be taken.
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September 2, 2010
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May 26, 2010
Immigration Enforcement without Immigration Reform Doesn’t Work This week, the Senate will consider amendments to the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill that would add thousands of additional...
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April 15, 2010
The Secure Border Initiative (SBI), launched by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2005, is a cautionary tale of the dangers inherent in seeking a technological quick fix to the problem of...
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers all too frequently deny individuals fleeing persecution and torture their right to seek protection in the United States, issue summary removal orders against them, and then falsify documents to support their illegal actions.
May 22, 2018

The American Immigration Council submitted a written statement to the House Homeland Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security for a May 22, 2018 hearing on “Stopping the Daily Border Caravan:...

The requests ask for policies, guidelines, or procedures followed or used by the governmental agencies to address the processing and treatment of families at the U.S.-Mexico border and specifically, the separation of adult family members from minor children and the criminal prosecution of adult family members.
December 11, 2017
The practice of dividing families raises Constitutional due process concerns under the Fifth Amendment, violates United States’ obligations under international law, and contravenes voluminous evidence maintaining that family separation is not in the best interest of the child.
This lawsuit seeks to compel CBP to disclose the requested records concerning USBP agents’ practices.
Asylum seekers are being illegally turned away by Customs and Border Protection officers. We're suing.
This case stems from Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) decision to bar Caroline Perris, a full-time legal assistant with the Dilley Pro Bono Project (DPBP), from entering the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas.
May 25, 2017
This petition, jointly filed by the Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, seeks to provide access to legal counsel for the following individuals.
May 23, 2017
The statement shares our analysis of infrastructure and personnel investments already made by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as well as our reporting on improvements needed at its border enforcement agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), to ensure integrity of operations along the Southern Border.
February 7, 2017
The statement shares our analysis and research regarding an unnecessary border wall and the already massive investment that has been made along the Southwest border.
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 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 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,...

September 30, 2021

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced a new lawsuit on Tuesday seeking an order requiring the Biden administration to detain almost all people arriving at the Southwest border. It is the latest...

September 21, 2021

Roughly 14,000 Haitians arrived at the border across from Del Rio, Texas in mid-September and walked across the Rio Grande to seek asylum. Many first left Haiti in 2010 following a devastating...

September 7, 2021

A federal court concluded Thursday that the U.S. government’s turning back of asylum seekers at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border—primarily through a practice called metering—not only...

August 25, 2021

The Supreme Court refused to block an order to reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy. The decision comes after a Texas judge halted the government...

August 16, 2021

The Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program, inflicted extreme harm on vulnerable people seeking asylum at the border beginning in...

August 6, 2021

A federal judge on Tuesday dealt an important blow to Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s flawed plan to stop migrants from entering and traveling through Texas. Governor Abbott issued an executive order...

July 28, 2021

As the number of families coming to the border has increased from June to July, the Biden administration is beginning yet another crackdown. Late on July 26, the Department of Homeland Security (...

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.
October 24, 2019
Media reports today indicate that the government has initiated a new pilot program in El Paso, Texas to rush the review of sensitive asylum cases. The reported program, called “Prompt Asylum Case Review,” forces families to navigate the asylum process while detained in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
October 2, 2019
The American Immigration Council and Tahirih Justice Center filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in federal court to compel the government to release records about the Trump administration’s troubling new practice of allowing U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers to screen individuals seeking asylum in the United States. The lawsuit seeks these documents to shed light on changes to the asylum screening process, CBP’s role in conducting interviews and making determinations regarding an asylum seeker’s “credible fear” of persecution, and the measures taken by CBP, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Department of Homeland Security to implement this new practice.
September 26, 2019
Immigrant rights attorneys moved to block the Trump administration’s Asylum Ban from affecting tens of thousands of migrants who have already attempted to access the U.S. asylum process before the ban was implemented. With limited exceptions, the Asylum Ban prohibits anyone who traveled through a third country and did not seek protection there from obtaining asylum here. The request filed today is in the ongoing case challenging the Trump administration’s policy of turning back asylum seekers at ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border, including the “metering” policy.
September 19, 2019
Five asylum-seeking mothers and their children who were torn apart under the Trump administration’s family separation policy filed a lawsuit against the United States for the cruel treatment and agony U.S. immigration agencies inflicted on them. The five parents and their children, who were as young as five at the time of the separation, claim that the U.S. government intentionally subjected them to extraordinary trauma that will have lifelong implications.
July 30, 2019
A federal district court has rejected the government’s second attempt to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's unlawful turnbacks of asylum seekers who present themselves at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border – including its attempt to choke off asylum applications through a so-called “metering” process.
July 22, 2019
Expanding expedited removal in this manner will create a 'show me your papers' regime of immigration enforcement where individuals—including any U.S. citizens they encounter—will be forced to prove they should not be deported. The American Immigration Council will not stand by idly as the Trump administration continues its unlawful attacks on our communities. We will see the Trump administration in court
July 15, 2019
The Trump administration announced a new rule that would bar many individuals seeking protection in the United States from being able to apply for asylum. The American Immigration Council believes we should not be afraid to embrace our humanitarian obligations in a way that respects the rule of law.
June 22, 2019
Newly obtained documents from the Department of Health and Human Services released today by immigrant rights groups and The Houston Chronicle show that migrant children continued to be separated from their parents at the border nearly one year after the end of the “zero tolerance” policy.
April 29, 2019
Newly released government records reveal that the Department of Homeland Security monitored protest preparations across the United States and internationally in June 2018, as communities organized to oppose the Trump administration’s separation of children and parents at the southern border. The discovery follows other recent revelations that the government has been secretly monitoring activists, journalists, and immigrant rights defenders.
April 1, 2022
The Biden administration announced today plans to end a border expulsions policy known as Title 42 by May 23. This policy allowed the U.S. government to turn people away at the U.S southern border over 1.7 million times in the past two years under the guise of protecting the country from COVID-19.
March 28, 2022

In a victory for government transparency, earlier this month a federal district court ordered the government to release the names of the Border Patrol agents involved in a program to screen asylum...

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...

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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 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.
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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...
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.
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...

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