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

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...

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...
April 28, 2014
The deportation process has been transformed drastically over the last two decades. Today, two-thirds of individuals deported are subject to what are known as “summary removal procedures,” which...
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...
July 24, 2013
The House of Representatives and the Senate have embarked upon very different paths when it comes to immigration reform. On June 27, the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill—...
May 9, 2013
The Important Economic Relationship of Mexico and the United States Mexico is the United States’ third largest trading partner, after Canada and China, in terms of total trade in goods, while the U.S...
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...
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...
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...
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...
This lawsuit seeks to compel government agencies to produce documents regarding family separation policies.
In the year and a half since the FOIA request was filed, CBP largely failed to provide any records in response to the request. On June 11, 2018, the Council, represented by O’Melveny & Myers LLP, filed a lawsuit to compel DHS and CBP to comply with FOIA and to release additional records related to the 2016 request.
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.
August 24, 2020

Over 250,000 Americans donated a total of $25 million to the “We Build the Wall” campaign, a crowdfunding effort led in part by former White House Adviser Steve Bannon. The campaign alleged that...

August 20, 2020

The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) top two officials are under scrutiny once again after a congressional oversight office found they were unlawfully appointed to their positions. The...

August 19, 2020

For many people planning to seek asylum in the United States, enforcement starts in Panama, over 3,000 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border. U.S. immigration agencies collaborate with Panama’s...

August 12, 2020

Asylum seekers got a major win in a lawsuit challenging the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) illegal policy of turning back asylum seekers at ports of entry. In Al Otro Lado v. Wolf, a...

August 3, 2020

The United States Border Patrol raided a humanitarian aid camp in Arizona on July 31, detaining volunteers and over 30 people receiving care. The camp—known as Byrd Camp—is run by No More Deaths (...

July 29, 2020

The Trump administration has been detaining immigrant children in hotels along the Texas-Mexico border and in Arizona. Some of the children are just a year old and are held in the hotels for weeks...

July 27, 2020

The May 25 killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police officers rightly sparked public outrage and protests throughout the United States. In response, the Trump administration deployed federal...

July 9, 2020

Even as President Trump downplays the threat of COVID-19, the Trump administration is using the pandemic as a pretext to bar more people from asylum in the United States. While the proposal is...

July 6, 2020

Immigrant children who arrive in the United States without a parent are placed in shelters or foster care while their guardianship and immigration process play out. But all too often, U.S....

June 30, 2020

The Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently published a report analyzing U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) treatment of noncitizens at the border in...

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.
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.
January 27, 2021
Newly released government records reveal U.S. immigration agencies' efforts in 2019 to rapidly deport thousands of people from the United States through the little-known Electronic Nationality Verification program.
January 26, 2021
U.S. immigration agencies use a range of programs to deport—or remove—certain noncitizens from the United States. Under the Trump administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and two of...
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 22, 2021
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 20, 2021
Since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, the federal government has spent an estimated $324 billion on the agencies that carry out immigration 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 7, 2021
Immigrant rights advocates moved for a temporary restraining order to block the Trump administration’s latest attempt to circumvent an earlier court order prohibiting the government from applying an asylum ban to people whom U.S. Customs and Border Protection had previously turned away from ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border.
January 6, 2021

Every year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) deports tens of thousands of...

December 21, 2020
The Proposed Rule would drastically expand the use of unproven facial recognition technology at ports of entry throughout the United States.
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...

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