Border Enforcement

The U.S. immigration system is complex and can be difficult to understand. These resources provide key data points, historical information, and background on hot topics in immigration. Learn the basics about immigration.

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All Border Enforcement Content

Publication Date: 
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...
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February 1, 2006
Most of the border-enforcement and immigration-reform proposals currently being considered in Washington, DC, are not comprehensive or adequate solutions to the issue of undocumented immigration. The...
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September 1, 2005
A proper understanding of the causes of international migration suggests that punitive immigration and border policies tend to backfire, and this is precisely what has happened in the case of the...
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August 1, 2005
The current crisis of undocumented immigration to the United States has its roots in fundamental misunderstandings about the causes of immigration and the motivations of immigrants. A growing body of...
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April 1, 2005
New proposals for more fencing and Border Patrol agents along the U.S.-Mexico border may only perpetuate an unsuccessful and counterproductive policy that does not effectively enhance national...
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December 1, 2003
In the hours following the deadly terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States government took the extraordinary step of sealing U.S. borders to traffic and trade by grounding all...
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May 1, 2003
After September 11th, efforts to reach an immigration accord with Mexico came to a halt. As a result, the Bush administration continues a poorly conceived border-enforcement strategy from the 1990s...
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 23, 2022

Just three days before Title 42 was set to end on May 23, a federal judge in Louisiana blocked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) from ending the controversial policy. With the...

May 10, 2022

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) announced in a May 6 memorandum that it would eliminate its Border Patrol Critical Incident Teams (BPCITs). The teams have faced criticism for their secretive...

April 28, 2022

A federal court in Louisiana issued an order on Wednesday temporarily preventing the Biden administration from winding down Title 42, the controversial public health policy that allows immigration...

April 26, 2022

Over three years after the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) went into effect, the Supreme Court finally heard oral arguments in a case about the program, also known as the “Remain in Mexico”...

April 22, 2022

Less than a week after the Biden Administration announced the impending end to the COVID-era Title 42 border policy, Texas Governor Greg Abbott escalated his ongoing political fight with the Biden...

April 12, 2022

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced in early April that it would end Title 42, the pandemic border policy that allowed immigration officials to rapidly “expel” migrants...

April 1, 2022

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Friday that it will be terminating the Title 42 border policy. The U.S. government has used this policy to turn away asylum seekers and...

March 28, 2022

In a victory for government transparency, earlier this month a federal district court ordered the government to release the names of the Border Patrol agents involved in a program to screen asylum...

March 18, 2022

Last week, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released its fiscal year 2021 annual report. In it, the agency reported a significant decrease in both overall deportations and internal...

March 8, 2022

In just under two years, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has carried out over 1.5 million rapid “expulsions” of asylum seekers and migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border under Title 42, a...

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.
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
Publication Date: 
May 10, 2023
The American Immigration Council joined a coalition of 129 organizations calling for members of the House of Representatives to vote against an anti-immigrant border bill that would dismantle the U.S...
May 9, 2023

With the pandemic-related expulsion policy “Title 42” set to expire May 11, the House GOP introduced its first large-scale border and immigration package on Monday. The bill combines three...

May 3, 2023
The American Immigration Council released a new vision and blueprint for the border that highlights the need for a modern and functional system of humanitarian protection and border management in the United States.
May 2, 2023

Title 42 – a policy that has allowed the U.S. government to expel border-crossers without giving them a chance to seek asylum – is expected to officially sunset next week. Federal courts prevented...

The Council is seeking monetary damages on behalf of six asylum-seeking mothers and their children for the trauma they suffered when torn apart under the Trump Administration’s family separation policy.
April 21, 2023

With all eyes on the U.S.-Mexico border ahead of the end of Title 42 on May 11, Texas lawmakers are pushing to increase the state’s role in enforcing federal immigration laws—despite Supreme Court...

April 20, 2023

A family with a baby, waiting outside in the cold overnight. A pregnant woman, enduring the elements for multiple days. An Afghan who worked for the U.S. Army as a translator, hoping for food and...

April 19, 2023

On Monday, April 17, the House GOP introduced its first comprehensive border bill of the 118th Congress. The bill comes after months of disagreement within the caucus surrounding legislative...

April 18, 2023
The American Immigration Council responds to the new Menendez Plan which proposes humane and effective solutions for managing migration at the border.
April 10, 2023

The Biden administration is yet again turning to the Trump playbook as it tries to slap together a border crackdown to succeed the end of the Title 42 “public health” order next month. The latest...

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