Detention

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 Detention Content

January 10, 2020
Over the last two decades, the federal government increasingly has utilized the criminal courts to punish people for immigration violations. This overview provides basic information about entry-...
January 2, 2020
This fact sheet describes the populations, duration, and conditions for noncitizens detained in the United States by department.
November 22, 2019
Deportations of parents and family members have serious consequences that affect children and extend to communities and the country as a whole.
September 13, 2019
This fact sheet gives a brief overview of the process individuals must undergo to seek release from immigration detention.
July 17, 2019
The Institutional Hearing Program permits immigration judges to conduct removal proceedings for noncitizens serving criminal sentences in certain correctional facilities.
December 5, 2018
This analysis reveals that individuals detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were commonly held in privately operated and remotely located facilities, far away from basic community...
September 6, 2018
The Legal Orientation Program (LOP) offers legal education, as well as referrals for free and low-cost legal counsel, to noncitizens in immigration detention.
August 16, 2018
This report presents findings from the first empirical analysis of asylum adjudication in family detention. Drawing on government data from over 18,000 immigration court proceedings initiated between...
September 19, 2017
Mexican migrants suffer a host of violations, abuses, and ill treatment while in the custody of U.S. immigration authorities.
May 9, 2017
Detained asylum seekers encounter numerous challenges, including the following problems detailed in this report.
March 23, 2020
This urgent letter from over 100 organizations expressing deep concern about the need for remote legal access and representation in immigration court and detention during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This request seeks information that will enhance the public’s understanding of steps ICE has taken to protect detained individuals from an outbreak of COVID-19.
March 17, 2020
The letter notes public health concerns related to COVID-19 for individuals in Immigration and Customs Enforcement's custody in El Paso, the need for the immediate release of individuals who are at high risk, and recommending steps to mitigate the crisis for this population.

In December 2019, the National Archives approved a schedule for destruction of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) records which slates numerous categories of documents addressing...

January 31, 2020

The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association submitted an amicus brief in Las Americas Immigrant Advocacy Center v. Wolf, a case filed by the American...

This lawsuit seeks to uncover information about the government’s troubling new practice of employing U.S. Custom and Border Protection officers to screen asylum seekers.
September 25, 2019
This statement shares our knowledge about these problems and inform the Subcommittee of these systemic human rights and due process violations. We hope that our perspective provides insight context for this important hearing.
September 4, 2019
The administrative complaint filed with government oversight agencies highlights a systematic failure to provide adequate medical care to children in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody. This violates CBP’s own internal guidance and extensive medical guidelines.
July 3, 2019
Immigration courts must continue to provide bond hearings to individuals fleeing persecution who enter the United States without inspection, are placed in expedited removal proceedings, and pass their credible fear interviews.
August 20, 2018
This practice advisory provides an overview of the Supreme Court’s decision in Bivens, the benefits and risks of bringing a Bivens claim, and practical and legal information about filing a Bivens claim in federal court.
February 21, 2017
This Practice Advisory addresses the coming expansion of expedited removal.
June 1, 2008

This Practice Advisory offers a short introduction to habeas corpus, addressing when and how a petitioner may file a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the immigration context.

March 31, 2020

Social distancing has been mandated in many places throughout the United States to slow the spread of COVID-19, the new coronavirus. Meanwhile, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)...

March 19, 2020

As the global death toll from coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to mount and communities take steps to stem the further spread of the virus, immigration advocates and lawyers have sounded the alarm...

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...

February 20, 2020

A federal court found on Wednesday that U.S. Border Patrol may not detain migrants held in its facilities in Arizona’s Tucson Sector longer than 48 hours without providing for their “basic human...

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 28, 2020

One year ago today, a confused Honduran man seeking asylum in the United States became the first person to be turned away from the border and sent back to Mexico to await a U.S. court hearing. He...

January 24, 2020

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill sent a letter to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) this month demanding the release of all transgender people in ICE’s custody. At least two transgender...

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...

January 9, 2020

The government closed out the decade with yet another person’s death in immigration detention. Fiscal year 2019 was one of the most fatal years on the books for immigrants held in the custody of...

December 16, 2019

A recent federal court ruling in California could allow hundreds of thousands of immigrants currently and previously detained by private prison companies to demand compensation and damages for...

March 27, 2020
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has upheld a ruling blocking a Trump administration policy that categorically denies bond hearings to asylum seekers. The case is Padilla v. ICE.
March 23, 2020
In a letter calling for prioritizing the health and safety of government employees, detained individuals, and their legal representatives amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, together with the National Immigrant Justice Center, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and more than 100 other organizations, urged the U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to immediately authorize the robust and automatic use of remote options for immigration court appearances and attorney-client meetings.
February 19, 2020
A federal court ordered U.S. Customs and Border Protection to overhaul the way the agency detains people in its custody in the Tucson Sector. The court found that the conditions in CBP holding cells, especially those that preclude sleep over several nights, are presumptively punitive and violate the U.S. Constitution.
January 23, 2020
During the course of the trial, a federal judge heard from qualified experts who testified on the inadequate medical care and severe conditions inside CBP detention centers.
January 13, 2020
The trial in a legal challenge to the horrific conditions in U.S. Border Patrol's short-term detention facilities across the Tucson sector, filed in June 2015 by immigration groups, begins on Monday, Jan. 13 at the U.S. District Court in Tucson, Arizona.
August 21, 2019
he Trump administration announced that it will publish a new regulation on Friday that allows for the indefinite detention of immigrant children. The rule will terminate the Flores Settlement Agreement, which currently requires that the government hold children in the least restrictive setting and release them as quickly as possible, generally within 20 days.
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.
May 2, 2019
The American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and The American Civil Liberties Union, filed a proposed amended complaint in federal court today in order to challenge the Trump administration’s new policy that categorically denies bond hearings to asylum seekers. The policy, announced April 16 by Attorney General William Barr, targets asylum seekers whom immigration officers previously determined have a “credible fear” of persecution or torture if returned to the places they fled.
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.
April 5, 2019
In a groundbreaking decision, a federal judge in Seattle dealt a blow to the government’s campaign to deter and obstruct asylum seekers applying for protection in the United States. Judge Marsha Pechman ordered the government to provide certain individuals with bona fide asylum claims either a bond hearing before an immigration judge within seven days of their request or to release them from detention.
March 31, 2020

Social distancing has been mandated in many places throughout the United States to slow the spread of COVID-19, the new coronavirus. Meanwhile, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)...

March 27, 2020
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has upheld a ruling blocking a Trump administration policy that categorically denies bond hearings to asylum seekers. The case is Padilla v. ICE.
March 23, 2020
This urgent letter from over 100 organizations expressing deep concern about the need for remote legal access and representation in immigration court and detention during the COVID-19 pandemic.
March 23, 2020
In a letter calling for prioritizing the health and safety of government employees, detained individuals, and their legal representatives amid the COVID-19 outbreak, the American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, together with the National Immigrant Justice Center, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and more than 100 other organizations, urged the U.S. Department of Justice Executive Office for Immigration Review and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to immediately authorize the robust and automatic use of remote options for immigration court appearances and attorney-client meetings.
March 19, 2020

As the global death toll from coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to mount and communities take steps to stem the further spread of the virus, immigration advocates and lawyers have sounded the alarm...

This request seeks information that will enhance the public’s understanding of steps ICE has taken to protect detained individuals from an outbreak of COVID-19.
March 17, 2020
The letter notes public health concerns related to COVID-19 for individuals in Immigration and Customs Enforcement's custody in El Paso, the need for the immediate release of individuals who are at high risk, and recommending steps to mitigate the crisis for this population.
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...

February 20, 2020

A federal court found on Wednesday that U.S. Border Patrol may not detain migrants held in its facilities in Arizona’s Tucson Sector longer than 48 hours without providing for their “basic human...

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