Border Enforcement

Our legal system rests upon the principle that everyone is entitled to due process of law and a meaningful opportunity to be heard. But for far too long, the immigration system has failed to provide noncitizens with a system of justice that lives up to this standard. Learn about ways in which the immigration system could ensure that all noncitizens have a fair day in court.  

Recent Features

All Border Enforcement Content

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...
September 1, 2011
If the United States wants effective border security, then more effective law‐enforcement measures must be taken.
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...
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...
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...
February 4, 2010
The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) reports that federal immigration prosecutions rose to record levels during fiscal year...
June 17, 2009
The Department of Homeland Security released a report this week showing that apprehensions...
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...
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...
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.
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...

March 11, 2020

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revealed new information this week about two asylum programs  at the U.S.-Mexico border. These programs are under scrutiny because they make it almost...

March 2, 2020

The Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of a lawsuit seeking damages from a U.S. Border Patrol agent who shot and killed a teenager across the U.S.-Mexico border. With this latest decision in the...

February 14, 2020

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—the largest law enforcement agency within the Department of Homeland Security, with tens of thousands of officers charged with policing our borders—is...

February 13, 2020

A federal judge in Arizona reversed convictions of four volunteers of the humanitarian aid group No More Deaths last week. No More Deaths is an Arizona-based group that works to end death and...

February 4, 2020

In U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody, asylum seekers are detained in horribly cold and overcrowded facilities, unable to sleep, without access to food, water, or adequate medical...

January 27, 2020

Monday marks the third anniversary of the Trump administration’s travel ban—a presidential proclamation that needlessly divides families on the basis of their religion and nationality. The...

January 23, 2020

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began collecting DNA from people held at the border earlier this month. This is part of a pilot program that DHS plans to expand nationwide. The program...

January 22, 2020

Iranian students coming to the United States are being stopped at airports, having their visas revoked, and are being deported. Advocates warn this trend is emerging less than a month after...

January 21, 2020

The Trump administration received an unfortunate victory in the case against their family separation policy. On January 13, 2020, Federal Judge Dana Sabraw sided with the government in a lawsuit...

January 15, 2020

After more than four years of gathering evidence of the substandard conditions in the government’s short-term detention facilities in Arizona’s Tucson Sector, a case challenging these conditions...

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.
June 7, 2018
José Crespo Cagnant filed a lawsuit to hold the government accountable for abusive, unlawful conduct and depriving him of an opportunity to apply for asylum.
May 7, 2018
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting Director Thomas Homan announced today that the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security will be stepping up prosecutions of individuals along the southern border—likely resulting in the criminalization of asylum seekers and more family separation.
December 11, 2017
A complaint on behalf of family members who have been forcibly separated while in custody at the southern border of the United States was filed with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General and Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.
October 8, 2017
The White House released its long anticipated, "Immigration Principles and Policies," which lay out many of the already-stated aspirations of the Trump administration on immigration. The laundry list represents a wholesale attack on immigration and immigrants. It includes not only limits on immigration generally, but enables mass deportations and envisions bypassing necessary procedures that protect children and asylum seekers.
August 16, 2017
The parties in Dilley Pro Bono Project v. ICE have reached a settlement that ensures access to mental health evaluations for certain detained mothers and children seeking asylum.
July 12, 2017

Washington D.C. - Today an immigrant rights group and several asylum seekers filed a class action lawsuit against officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S.

June 2, 2017
Access to legal counsel is a core American value and is the cornerstone of our justice system. Yet, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has severely limited access to legal assistance for asylum-seeking women and children held in family detention facilities.
September 30, 2020
This report identifies disruptions throughout the immigration system because of the COVID-19 pandemic and makes recommendations for improvements to the federal government’s response.
September 8, 2020
Asylum seekers who have been turned back by U.S. Customs and Border Protection from ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border asked a federal court to permanently stop the Trump administration’s Turnback Policy and declare it unlawful.
September 2, 2020

A Black former U.S. diplomat recently shared her experience of months of racial profiling by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials while she was stationed at the U.S. Consulate in...

September 1, 2020

A federal court on Monday halted a secretive program started under the Trump administration that allowed Border Patrol agents to be harsh gatekeepers to the asylum process. The court rejected the...

This request would show whether CBP is violating statutory protections intended for these youth.
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 5, 2020

The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association submitted a comment opposing the regulation "Security Bars and Processing." 

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