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

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...
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...
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.
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...

June 10, 2020

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently condemned U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) for its role in separating families at the border in 2018. Like previous inspections, the...

May 27, 2020

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the federal government has implemented sweeping revisions to U.S. immigration policy. Many of the changes fail to prioritize the health of immigrants or...

May 26, 2020

The Trump administration has indefinitely extended its ban on immigration at U.S. land borders.  The order was also expanded to include immigrants arriving at coastal ports. The ban is based on an...

April 2, 2020

Nearly two years after the “zero tolerance” policy was announced, evidence condemning the practice and implementation of family separation continues to mount. A recent report from the U.S....

March 23, 2020

The Trump administration detailed its plans to begin rapidly deporting to Mexico people encountered at or near the southern border—without any due process—as the coronavirus continues to spread...

March 18, 2020

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has historically conducted immigration enforcement along our borders. In this role, the agency has developed a reputation for overuse and abuse of its...

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.
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."
October 30, 2020

Congress released the “first complete narrative” on the Trump administration’s “Zero Tolerance” policy on October 30. This hallmark of President Trump’s immigration legacy led to the forcible...

U.S. Customs and Border Protection may have mistreated migrant children when implementing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention interim final rule that suspends people from entering the United States due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
October 30, 2020
Children and immigration advocacy groups filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of Illinois against CBP requesting information about the agency’s implementation of the CDC rule suspending people from entering the United States due to the COVID 19 pandemic and its specific impact on unaccompanied migrant children fleeing harm and seeking protection in the United States.
October 29, 2020

Over 60,000 people at the southern border have been forced to return to Mexico under the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program. As...

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.
October 19, 2020

As the Trump administration cracked down on migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, it has often invoked the concept of “national sovereignty” to justify drastic policy changes. But a new Senate...

October 15, 2020

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) launched another military-style raid on a humanitarian aid station in the Arizona desert, close to the U.S.-Mexico border. On October 5, Border Patrol...

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.
October 2, 2020

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) plans to destroy thousands of records documenting abuse and misconduct by its agents. The agency has requested that the National Archives and Records...

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...

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