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

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March 2, 2010
The month of March marks the seventh anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its immigration agencies. It also marks the end of a sweeping internal review ordered by Secretary...
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February 4, 2010
The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) reports that federal immigration prosecutions rose to record levels during fiscal year...
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June 17, 2009
The Department of Homeland Security released a report this week showing that apprehensions...
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May 22, 2008
While the U.S. government has poured billions upon billions of dollars into immigration enforcement, the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States has increased dramatically. Rather than...
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May 21, 2008
Since the mid-1980s, the federal government has tried repeatedly, without success, to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants to the United States with immigration-enforcement initiatives: deploying...
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May 2, 2007
Since 9/11 the watchword in the debate over immigration reform has been “security.” As a result, most policymakers and pundits now approach the subject of immigration largely from a law-enforcement...
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February 15, 2007
Ongoing reports about Mexico’s bloody conflict with organized crime have raised again the question of whether the United States should do more to prevent such violence from “spilling over” into the...
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February 1, 2007
By Raquel Rubio-Goldsmith, M. Melissa McCormick, Daniel Martinez & Inez Magdalena Duarte
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September 1, 2006
Access to an independent judiciary with the power to hold the government accountable in its dealings with individuals is a founding principle of the United States. In contrast, imagine a system...
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April 10, 2006
The U.S. government's efforts to stem undocumented immigration by fortifying the U.S.-Mexico border have increased the profitability of the people-smuggling business and fostered greater...
The class-action lawsuit complaint alleges that Tucson Sector Border Patrol holds men, women, and children in freezing, overcrowded, and filthy cells for days at a time in violation of the U.S. Constitution and CBP’s own policies.
In March 2015, the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the Law Office of Stacy Tolchin, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, filed a class action lawsuit against CBP over its nationwide pattern and practice of failing to timely respond to requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The plaintiffs included both immigration attorneys and individuals, all of whom had FOIA requests pending for over 20 business days.
In March 2013, the American Immigration Council and Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, later joined by the Legal Aid Justice Center, filed a lawsuit alleging that CBP officers at Dulles Airport in Virginia unlawfully detained a U.S. citizen child for more than twenty hours, deprived her of contact with her parents, and then effectively deported her to Guatemala. The case was one of ten complaints filed the same week to highlight CBP abuses along the northern and southern borders.
In June 2012, the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, filed suit against DHS and CBP for unlawfully withholding records concerning voluntary returns of noncitizens from the United States to their countries of origin. Voluntary return, also known as “administrative voluntary departure,” is a procedure whereby CBP officers permit noncitizens to voluntarily depart the United States at their own expense rather than undergoing formal removal proceedings. Noncitizens may be granted voluntary return to their countries of origin after conceding unlawful presence in the United States and knowingly and voluntarily waiving the right to contest removal.

Based on reports from immigration advocates, CBP officers do not always provide noncitizens with information regarding the consequences of accepting voluntary return...

May 17, 2021

Newly revealed government documents provide details on the extent of the Trump administration’s retaliation against people who provided legal assistance to asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border...

April 13, 2021

A record number of migrant children are arriving to the U.S.-Mexico border alone. In March 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered nearly 19,000 unaccompanied minors—the most to...

April 8, 2021

Only days after President Biden took office, some people were already declaring that the border was in a state of crisis. But recently released U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics reveal...

April 2, 2021

Over the last two months, the Biden administration has been pressured to carry out another crackdown at the border as the number of arriving families and children rise. But officials making these...

March 23, 2021

The current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border—including the rise in immigrant children in U.S. government custody—has captured the nation’s attention in recent weeks. Much of the conversation...

March 19, 2021

A pause on border wall construction is set to expire on March 20, without an indication of what will happen next. President Biden signed a proclamation ordering the 60-day pause on his first day...

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...

February 12, 2021

The Trump administration sent over 70,000 people who came to the U.S border seeking asylum back to Mexico to wait for court hearings. This so-called “Migrant Protection Protocols” (“MPP”) program...

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...

December 20, 2018
The new policy would require many individuals seeking protection in the United States, including children and other vulnerable individuals, to remain in Mexico until their asylum claim is decided by an overwhelmingly backlogged U.S. immigration court system, potentially spending months or even years in life-threatening conditions.
November 8, 2018
The Trump administration revealed today a new interim final regulation that restricts access to asylum at the border, causing chaos and uncertainty for many seeking protection.
October 16, 2018
In a new court filing, asylum seekers and an immigrant rights group are challenging the Trump administration’s policy and practice of turning back asylum seekers at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border
September 6, 2018
The Trump administration proposed new regulations that could lead to the indefinite detention—and needless suffering—of asylum-seeking children.
August 23, 2018
The complaint points to numerous examples, including that of Mrs. D.P., who was separated from her 9-year-old daughter for 47 days as a result of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' "zero-tolerance" border policy.
August 16, 2018
As government officials and policymakers weigh the potential expansion of family detention, this report reveals how detention impacts asylum-seeking families and their claims for protection.
July 26, 2018
"The government’s failure to comply with the court order to reunify the thousands of separated children and parents confirms the administration’s utter disregard for the humane and fair treatment of families coming to our country in search of protection."
July 9, 2018
Leaders of several immigrant and human rights organizations were invited for the first time under the Trump administration to meet with Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen.
June 27, 2018
The lawsuit asks the court to compel the agencies to produce family separation documents in response to FOIA requests submitted in April.
June 20, 2018
President Donald Trump signed an executive order today to try to stem criticism of his family separation policy. He has offered an unacceptable alternative: imprisoning mothers and fathers with their children.
November 30, 2021

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) plan to collect information from more individuals before they arrive at the border has raised questions about how the agency will gather and use the...

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November 29, 2021
The Council and AILA summited comments on a DHS and CBP information collection request for the processing of undocumented immigrants at ports of entry at land borders, but the organizations remain...
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November 23, 2021

The American Immigration Council, American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), ACLU of New Mexico, Innovation Law Lab, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild filed...

November 18, 2021

Data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shows that the number of individuals apprehended by the Border Patrol at the U.S.-Mexico border fell by 15% from September to October,...

November 16, 2021

Four years ago, immigration lawyers and advocates began to see a disturbing practice emerge: the U.S. government began to forcibly separate children—some very young—from their parents at the...

October 29, 2021
The Biden administration announced that DHS will issue a new memo to formally terminate the Migrant Protection Protocols. It is an important step towards ensuring that the MPP program never returns.
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...

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October 19, 2021
The Council, AILA, and the Immigration Justice Campaign commented on the proposed creation of “Dedicated Docket” in immigration court to complete the claims of asylum-seeking families within 300 days...
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 15, 2021
The Biden administration announced today that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to revive and reimplement the Migrant Protection Protocols by mid-November. The Council believes that plans to restart the program is a betrayal of the president’s campaign promises and a sign that this administration is failing to reenvision border management and the way that we treat asylum seekers.

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