Detention

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.

Recent Features

All Detention Content

Publication Date: 
December 17, 2015
These accounts reveal the dehumanizing conditions to which these women were subjected while in Border Patrol custody.
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July 22, 2015

For decades, the U.S. refugee protection system has been a symbol of the nation’s generosity and openness to the world’s persecuted. Yet since Congress’ enactment of the Illegal Immigration Reform...

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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...

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October 6, 2011
One of the ugliest myths in the immigration debate is that immigrants are more likely to commit crime or pose a danger to society. Although studies repeatedly have shown that immigrants are less...
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July 6, 2011
One of the ugliest myths in the immigration debate involves the relationship between immigrants and crime. While studies repeatedly have shown that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than...
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October 1, 2004
Over a thousand noncitizens face indefinite detention in the United States on the basis of a meaningless legal technicality.
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November 12, 2020
The amicus brief in Pham v. Guzman Chavez urges the Supreme Court to find that the pre-final order detention statute applies to detained noncitizens with prior removal orders who have meritorious claims for a form of humanitarian protection known as withholding of removal.
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...

This request would show whether CBP is violating statutory protections intended for these youth.
Publication Date: 
August 7, 2020
In the amicus brief, the Council and partners documented the reliance on these records by researchers and advocates to monitor and expose troubling practices.
July 21, 2020

The American Immigration Council signed on to a letter calling on Congress to demand greater transparency from Immigration and Customs Enforcement regarding Cameroonian and other Black...

July 17, 2020

The American Immigration Council joined a letter to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security calling on the release of all families held at all three Immigration and Customs...

This lawsuit challenged ICE’s practice of transferring unaccompanied minors who turn 18 years old to adult custody in the agency’s contracted jails and prisons, without considering less restrictive placements.
Publication Date: 
May 12, 2020
The American Immigration Council filed this amicus curiae brief in support of individuals who sought release from detention due to their significant risk of infection from COVID-19.
May 7, 2020
The complaint calls on oversight agencies to demand immediate action by ICE to help stop the spread of the coronavirus where social distancing is not possible, including:
February 10, 2023

Nearly 1,000 children separated from their families at the southern border by the Trump administration remain separated to this day, according to a Biden administration fact sheet released on...

February 3, 2023

Recently published data from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) provides insight into who ICE is detaining and for how long. The results show that the majority of noncitizens are being...

December 13, 2022

One might think that posting bond in the immigration system is a straightforward process. Immigration authorities set bond. A person pays the bond amount, and the incarcerated person is released....

December 9, 2022

After years of advocacy and widespread abuse, Berks County officials announced that the federal government was ending its contract for the Berks County detention center on January 31, 2023....

November 8, 2022

Solitary confinement is widely criticized as a cruel and unnecessary practice. It’s largely unsupported by the public as a disciplinary measure and badly in need of reform. On October 26, the...

November 4, 2022

Black immigrants in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) disproportionately face abuse while in detention, a report released last week finds. Published by several...

October 13, 2022

Legal service organizations have sued U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for preventing people jailed at four immigration detention centers from having meaningful access to their...

October 6, 2022

An appellate court recently ruled that California’s state law banning private prisons—including immigration detention centers—is likely unconstitutional. The decision is a significant blow to...

August 2, 2022

For almost two decades, asylum seekers taken into Border Patrol custody who passed a “credible fear” interview have been eligible to seek release from detention on bond while they go through the...

April 8, 2022

Every year, the president submits a budget request to Congress with their proposal for funding the federal government. Over the last 20 years, Congress has spent over $333 billion on immigration...

February 11, 2021
A group of 120 legal and medical services and advocacy organizations sent a letter to the White House and Department of Homeland Security, asking the Biden administration to review the cases of thousands of people who remain in immigration detention, and release those who do not fall within the enforcement priorities detailed in the DHS enforcement priorities memo that took effect February 1.
November 12, 2020
The American Immigration Council, other immigrant rights organizations, and legal service providers filed a friend-of-the-court (or amicus) brief with the U.S. Supreme Court. The brief urges the justices to find that immigrants who seek humanitarian protection from removal should have access to bond hearings—instead of being subjected to mandatory detention.
September 15, 2020
AILA and the American Immigration Council are calling on Congress to initiate an immediate and thorough investigation into conditions and medical care at ICE detention centers following the disturbing news reports yesterday about the lack of COVID-19 protections and inadequate medical care, including a report that a number of women detained at the Irwin detention center in Ocilla, Georgia were unnecessarily subject to hysterectomies.
August 26, 2020
Individuals in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody at the Otero County Processing Center filed a motion for preliminary injunction to stop ICE from denying detained individuals the ability to contact their lawyers and the outside world by phone.
July 2, 2020
A federal court has ruled that the failure of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to consider less restrictive settings before transferring unaccompanied immigrant youth to ICE detention on their 18th birthdays violates U.S. immigration laws.
May 27, 2020
The American Immigration Council's latest report examines major changes to the U.S. immigration system in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unique challenges the pandemic has created for noncitizens and government agencies.
May 7, 2020
The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association , through their joint initiative the Immigration Justice Campaign, filed an oversight complaint with the Department of Homeland Security Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and the Office of the Inspector General highlighting the experiences of individuals detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
April 28, 2020
Today’s Court decision denying the emergency temporary restraining order in NIPNLG, et al., v. EOIR, et al., is deeply disappointing. This lawsuit was brought against the Executive Office for Immigration Review and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to protect the health of immigration attorneys, immigrants, and the public from the impact of dangerous and unconstitutional policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
April 8, 2020
Immigration groups moved for an emergency temporary restraining order against the Executive Office for Immigration Review and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in order to protect the health of immigration attorneys, immigrants, and the public from the impact of dangerous and unconstitutional policies during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
This Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeks information on a $10 million appropriation made to improve legal access in detention.
July 14, 2023

“If I spoke too loudly, solitary. If I climbed on top of a table to get a guard’s attention, solitary. If I had suicidal thoughts, solitary. When the guards would tease me about being deported...

July 13, 2023
Immigration advocacy groups filed a complaint with DHS' oversight bodies urging an investigation into the increased use and misuse of solitary confinement at the Denver Contract Detention Facility in Aurora, Colorado.
Publication Date: 
July 13, 2023
The American Immigration Council and partners filed an administrative complaint with the with the Department of Homeland Security's oversight bodies urging immediate investigation into the misuse of...
Publication Date: 
July 11, 2023
This fact sheet provides an overview of the wide range of programs that provide alternatives to detention (ATDs) and run the gamut from no governmental intervention to extensive surveillance and...
June 15, 2023

Florida officials think the federal government must detain everyone – or virtually everyone – who arrives at the U.S.-Mexico border without a visa. And it is using the courts to try to make that...

June 9, 2023

An internal investigation into the death of a medically vulnerable eight-year-old girl after over a week in Border Patrol custody continues to reveal shocking negligence on the part of medical...

Publication Date: 
June 1, 2023
The American Immigration Council urged ICE to preserve the option of in-person bond payments and raised concerns about the web-based system Cash Electronic Bonds Online (CeBONDS).
Publication Date: 
May 3, 2023
America needs durable solutions. These concrete measures can bring orderliness to our border and modernize our overwhelmed asylum system.
April 26, 2023

Last week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the launch of CeBONDS, a new system people can use to pay bonds and secure the release of individuals in immigration detention....

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