Enforcement

The enforcement of immigration laws is a complex and hotly-debated topic. Learn more about the costs of immigration enforcement and the ways in which the U.S. can enforce our immigration laws humanely and in a manner that ensures due process.

Recent Features

All Enforcement Content

June 24, 2021
Deportations of parents and family members have serious consequences that affect children and extend to communities and the country as a whole.
May 20, 2021
This report analyzes the Biden administration's 100 days progress in reforming immigration enforcement and recommendations for how to best move forward.
March 16, 2021
This fact sheet provides an overview of “aggravated felonies” under federal immigration law and the immigration consequences of being convicted of an “aggravated felony.”
February 26, 2021
This fact sheet draws from original data gathered from hundreds of community-organizations around the country and provides a snapshot of the extent of available services that help migrants navigate...
February 10, 2021
This report presents a historical overview of how U.S. Border Patrol has been steeped in institutional racism and has committed violent acts with near impunity since its founding nearly 100 years ago...
January 28, 2021
This analysis of data provided by the federal government reveals that 83% of all nondetained immigrants with completed or pending removal cases attended all their hearings from 2008 to 2018.
January 26, 2021
U.S. immigration agencies use a range of programs to deport—or remove—certain noncitizens from the United States. Under the Trump administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and two of...
January 20, 2021
Since the creation of the Department of Homeland Security in 2003, the federal government has spent an estimated $324 billion on the agencies that carry out immigration enforcement.
October 21, 2020
Sanctuary policies do not conceal or shelter unauthorized immigrants from detection. Here's what you need to know about these policies.
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.
August 23, 2021
This amicus brief urges the Supreme Court to stop the reinstatement of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), and halt the lower court's poorly reasoned and factually flawed decision.
August 18, 2021
This brief highlights the court's many factual errors about MPP in its decision to reinstate the program.

What is CBP One and why is it concerning?

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) launched a new app that can be downloaded on mobile devices called CBP One. According to the agency, CBP One...

This Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeks to uncover information about the databases and systems that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agencies use in immigration enforcement.
May 27, 2021
The amicus brief in Ayom v. Garland urges the eighth circuit to affirm that mandatory detention has constitutional limits, and reject the endorsement of prolonged mandatory detention for people in removal proceedings.
The Council and Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) are investigating the abuse and mistreatment of Black immigrants in ICE detention facilities located in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
The Council filed multiple Freedom of Information Act requests to unearth the systems that the government uses in immigration enforcement and the data it collects.
The Council and Advocates for Basic Legal Equality have launched an investigation into the abusive practices of CBP officers and cooperation with local law enforcement in Ohio.
February 26, 2021
In the amicus brief, the Council and partners reject Calhoun County's position to withhold records that otherwise would be released under the Michigan state FOIA.
This Freedom of Information Act lawsuit calls on CBP to release records documenting the agency’s aggressive and militarized response to the provision of humanitarian aid.
August 1, 2017
This Practice Advisory addresses some of the legal issues that may arise when noncitizens in removal proceedings seek to suppress evidence unlawfully obtained by Customs and Border Protection officers.
October 22, 2015
This Practice Advisory focuses on the meaning of “admission” in four very specific, but frequently encountered situations: a “wave-through” at a port of entry; and entry based on misrepresentation; an entry based on a false claim to U.S. citizenship; and the grant of TPS as an admission for purposes of adjustment of status.
March 18, 2015
This Practice Advisory, updated following the issuance of Secretary Johnson’s November 20, 2014 memorandum on Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants, explains what prosecutorial discretion is, who has authority to exercise it, and how it is exercised most often in immigration cases. It also suggests ways that attorneys can influence the favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion by ICE, CBP and USCIS officers.
January 21, 2014
This Practice Advisory provides background information about requesting stays of removal from the court of appeals, discusses the legal standard for obtaining a stay, and addresses the implications of the government’s policy with respect to return of individuals who are successful on their appeal.
November 20, 2013

This Practice Advisory discusses the "departure bar" to motions to reopen and arguments adopted by circuit courts that have rejected or upheld the bar.

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 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...

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 11, 2022

The path toward commonsense federal immigration solutions seems to be continuing the cyclical and frustrating pattern of two steps forward, one step back. As soon as a measure is introduced—be it...

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...

March 4, 2022

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced that it has been developing and testing robot dogs for use by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) at the U.S.-Mexico border. The...

February 25, 2022

A federal court in Illinois recently approved a settlement agreement governing unlawful, warrantless arrests and vehicle stops. The settlement requires U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (...

February 14, 2022

The Omicron variant has spread through immigration detention like wildfire, with a record 14% of people in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody testing positive for COVID-19 as...

February 9, 2022

A skyrocketing number of migrant teens from Central America are finding their way into the undocumented workforce of the United States. They are doing rigorous, grueling work often meant for...

January 14, 2022

New leaked photos of Border Patrol stations in Yuma, Arizona show Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) inhumane treatment of people apprehended at the border— revealing that years of overcrowded...

January 12, 2022

Written by Caroline Walters and Kate Melloy Goettel  This week the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two related immigration cases. Each asks whether certain noncitizens are entitled to bond...

September 22, 2021
A district court judge in Washington, D.C., ruled that ICE broke the law by detaining unaccompanied children who turned 18 and “aged out” of Office of Refugee Resettlement custody. The court ordered the agency to change its practices and procedures to avoid further unlawful detentions.
September 2, 2021
A federal judge declared unlawful the U.S. government’s turnbacks of asylum seekers arriving at ports of entry along the U.S southern border. The court ruled that the United States is required by law to inspect and process asylum seekers when they present themselves at ports of entry, and condemned the practice of denying access to the asylum process through metering and similar practices.
September 1, 2021
Immigrant rights advocates released a statement after presenting oral arguments before U.S. District Court of the Southern District of California, where they urged the court to declare unlawful and permanently end the Trump-era turnback policy.
August 24, 2021
The U.S. Supreme Court refused to stay a ruling from a lower Texas court that would force the Biden administration to revive the Migrant Protection Protocols.
August 23, 2021
Immigration groups and judges urged the U.S. Supreme Court in an amicus brief to stay a Texas court ruling that would force the Biden administration to revive the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) – an illegal policy that forced asylum seekers to await their U.S. court dates in perilous conditions in Mexico.
August 19, 2021
A Texas judge blocked the Biden administration’s immigration enforcement priorities. The decision was issued in a case challenging ICE’s enforcement activities outside the scope laid out in the Feb. 18 enforcement memo.
August 18, 2021
The Council and partner immigration groups and former immigration judges filed an amicus brief to stop the reinstatement of the Migrant Protection Protocols.
August 17, 2021
As the Biden administration begins crafting next year's budget, 131 organizations published a statement for the Biden administration outlining the top immigration priorities that must be included in the country’s budget for Fiscal Year 2023.
June 21, 2021
The American Immigration Council filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against DHS and its two primary immigration enforcement agencies requesting information about the obscure network of databases, information systems, and data sharing methods that are largely shielded from public view.
May 28, 2021
The Biden administration disclosed today a $54.2 billion budget request for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for fiscal year 2022. The request is is deeply disappointing and a missed opportunity to set immigration enforcement in the United States on a new path.
April 7, 2022

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a long-awaited memo on Sunday to guide ICE attorneys on exercising their prosecutorial discretion in immigration court. Authored by ICE’s...

April 6, 2022
The American Immigration Council appeared before Congress to address the effect of Title 42 on border operations and management and to provide recommendations on creating an orderly humanitarian...
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...

April 1, 2022
The Biden administration announced today plans to end a border expulsions policy known as Title 42 by May 23. This policy allowed the U.S. government to turn people away at the U.S southern border over 1.7 million times in the past two years under the guise of protecting the country from COVID-19.
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 28, 2022
In the amicus brief filed with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, the Council argues that the exclusionary rule in criminal proceedings should apply to evidence related to identity, because it is an essential deterrent to ICE’s widespread racially discriminatory enforcement practices.
March 25, 2022
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it will close or scale back four detention facilities over concerns about conditions at those centers.
March 24, 2022
The American Immigration Council filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security's oversight bodies urging an investigation into racial discrimination and excessive use of force at the...
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...

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...

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