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...
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.
The Council and its partners filed suit after CBP failed to respond to a 2013 FOIA After the case was filed, CBP disclosed only a handful of documents—primarily, indices of two ORT chapters without any substantive information—and then moved for summary judgment, claiming that it was not required to search for or produce any additional documents.
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 (...

July 27, 2021

The state of Texas has started a concentrated effort to arrest immigrants who have recently crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. The immigrants are charged with criminal state offenses of trespassing...

June 23, 2021

Asylum seekers who were ordered deported for missing their U.S. court hearings under the Trump administration’s so-called Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)—informally known as the “Remain in...

June 17, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on June 11 its plan for funds the Trump administration had planned to use to construct a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Unspent funds will...

June 10, 2021

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is collecting DNA from asylum seekers at the border, recent media reports confirm. This is the latest expansion of DNA collection as part of a program initiated...

May 27, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) recently found that the Trump administration deported as many as 348 parents that had been separated from their children...

May 19, 2021

One policy first created by the Trump administration is responsible for the greatest restriction on access to our immigration system for asylum seekers than any other. It provides no meaningful...

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.
February 27, 2019
The Southern Poverty Law Center, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the American Immigration Council filed a motion late last week seeking information regarding possible U.S. government harassment and retaliation against the leadership of the immigrants’ rights organization Al Otro Lado.
February 15, 2019
After months of threats, the longest government shutdown in history, and the passage of a bipartisan compromise on federal funding for homeland security, President Trump declared a national emergency to fund the building of a border wall without congressional approval. The president took this step despite strong bipartisan opposition to declaring a national emergency.
February 11, 2019
In their claims, the mothers describe the harrowing circumstances in which immigration officers ripped their children away from them.
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...

Publication Date: 
January 7, 2022
Under the “Migrant Protection Protocols”, individuals who arrive at the southern border and ask for asylum (either at a port of entry or after crossing the border between ports of entry) are given...
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 21, 2021
The American Immigration Council filed a FOIA lawsuit against CBP requesting information about the agency’s implementation of CBP One— an app designed to help process individuals entering the United States including asylum seekers—that has raised concerns among immigration and privacy advocates.
This FOIA Lawsuit seeks to compel CBP to release information about its implementation of CBP One, an app designed to streamline interactions between CBP officers and travelers, including asylum seekers, that has raised concerns amongst advocates.
Publication Date: 
December 17, 2021
The Council condemned the Biden administration's expansion of MPP and continued use of Title 42 to turn away asylum seekers at the border.
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 14, 2021

President Biden took office committing to unwind Trump’s border policies and go in a new direction—to reunite families, restore access to asylum, and reverse “policies enacted over the last 4...

Publication Date: 
December 9, 2021
This fact sheet provides an overview on CBP One, a mobile app developed to streamline interaction between travelers and CBP officers at ports of entry using technology which includes GPS tracking and...
December 3, 2021

Following months of negotiations with Mexico, the Biden administration announced that it would reinstate the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols (informally known as the “Remain in Mexico”...

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