Detention

The immigration laws and regulations provide some avenues to apply for lawful status from within the U.S. or to seek relief from deportation.  The eligibility requirements for these benefits and relief can be stringent, and the immigration agencies often adopt overly restrictive interpretations of the requirements.  Learn about advocacy and litigation that has been and can be undertaken to ensure that noncitizens have a fair chance to apply for the benefits and relief for which they are eligible.  

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.
Publication Date: 
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...

Publication Date: 
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...

Publication Date: 
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...
Publication Date: 
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...
Publication Date: 
October 1, 2004
Over a thousand noncitizens face indefinite detention in the United States on the basis of a meaningless legal technicality.
Publication Date: 
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 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...

March 22, 2022

In an unprecedented move, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’) watchdog agency—the Office of the Inspector General (OIG)—just recommended that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE...

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.
October 13, 2022
Several legal services organizations filed a lawsuit today against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for unlawfully preventing attorneys from communicating with immigrants detained in four detention facilities in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and Arizona.
This lawsuit challenges ICE's policies that have made it extremely difficult—and in many cases impossible—for people in immigration detention to access their attorneys.
September 30, 2022
The warden of a privately run detention facility in West Texas Center—which very recently held detained individuals for U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement—was arrested and charged with manslaughter for shooting two migrants, killing one, in Sierra Blanca, Texas
These Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests seek records from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) about treatment of Haitian immigrants.
September 8, 2022
A federal court approved a settlement agreement in a lawsuit challenging the unlawful detention of unaccompanied children who turn 18 in U.S. government custody and are transferred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities.
Last modified: 
August 9, 2022
Publication Date: 
August 9, 2022
This fact sheet provides an explanation on how noncitizens may find themselves facing deportation from the country, how the removal proceeding may look, what types of relief can be sought after a...
This FOIA lawsuit seeks to compel U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to provide information about the agency’s treatment of Haitian nationals detained at the Torrance Detention Facility.
This Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeks to compel U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to publish information on its website about how the public can pay bonds and secure the release of a loved one from ICE detention.
June 28, 2024

Written by Raul Pinto & Laila Khan Approximately one year ago, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) launched Cash Electronic Bonds (CeBONDS), a web portal with the stated intent...

March 15, 2024

By Tsion Gurmu, Legal Director at the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and Raul Pinto, Deputy Legal Director of Transparency The main way in which the public can access information about what...

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