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.

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All Enforcement Content

May 9, 2013
Since the last major legalization program for unauthorized immigrants in 1986, the federal government has spent an estimated $186.8 billion on immigration enforcement. Yet during that time, the...
April 2, 2013
Since the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created in 2003, its immigration-enforcement agencies—Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)—have been...
January 8, 2013
With roughly 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States, some question whether the nation’s immigration laws are being seriously enforced. In truth, due to legal and policy...
December 12, 2012
The Impact of Immigration Enforcement on Children Caught Up in the Child Welfare System One of the many consequences of an aggressive immigration enforcement system is the separation of children,...
September 25, 2012
Advocates along the Northern Border report a recent, sharp increase in the use of U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) agents to provide interpretation services to state and local law enforcement officers and...
June 4, 2012
This session, state legislatures are once again considering harsh immigration-control laws. These laws are intended to make everyday life so difficult for unauthorized immigrants that they will...
May 23, 2012
The collection of biometrics—including fingerprints, DNA, and face-recognition ready photographs—is becoming more and more a part of society. Both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the...
May 1, 2012
The report describes restrictions on access to legal counsel before DHS, provides a legal landscape, and offers recommendations designed to combat DHS’s harmful practices. It also addresses changes...
April 30, 2012
How Behavioral Economics Reveals the Fallacies behind “Attrition through Enforcement” By Alexandra Filindra, Ph.D....
April 17, 2012
In April 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) released two long-awaited reports on the Secure Communities Program: Operations of United States...
February 28, 2019
Numerous babies under the age of one—and some as young as six months old—are being detained in immigration detention at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas.
We filed a FOIA request seeking statistical information, as well as policies and guidance, regarding Board of Immigration Appeals standards for issuing stays of removal. Because the government failed to respond, we're filing a lawsuit.
February 6, 2019
The Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)—also commonly known as the "Remain in Mexico" policy—will put asylum seekers at grave risk of harm by forcing them to remain in Mexico pending their request for protection. Due to these concerns, immigration advocates submitted a letter to the government with first-hand testimonies of ten families attesting to the violence and harm–including rape, beatings, kidnappings, and ransom–they faced on the Mexican side of our southern border.
January 10, 2019

The American Immigration Council and the Immigrants’ Rights and Human Trafficking Program and Boston University School of Law filed an amicus brief in ACLU v. DHS, a Freedom of Information...

January 7, 2019

The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) submitted a joint comment opposing the “Interim Final Rule: Aliens Subject to a Bar on Entry Under...

November 6, 2018
The Trump administration proposed new regulations undermining the 1997 Flores settlement agreement. If the proposed regulations are finalized, they would weaken protections for children and place them at greater risk of trauma and mistreatment.
September 18, 2018

The American Immigration Council and American Immigration Lawyers Association submitted a written statement to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and...

This case challenges the punitive practice of keeping asylum seekers in custody for weeks or months without access to credible fear interviews or bond hearings and the lack of basic procedural protections—like hearing transcripts and written decisions—in bond hearings, as well as whether asylum seekers must bear the burden of proof in bond proceedings.
August 23, 2018

The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy led to not only to the forcible separation of thousands of children from their parents, but the extreme duress and coercion of...

This lawsuit seeks to compel U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to release records relating to CBP’s complaint process and actions taken in response to complaints made to CBP concerning its agents and officers since January 1, 2012.
June 23, 2021

Asylum seekers who were ordered deported for missing their U.S. court hearings under the Trump administration’s so-called Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)—informally known as the “Remain in...

June 17, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on June 11 its plan for funds the Trump administration had planned to use to construct a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Unspent funds will...

June 10, 2021

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is collecting DNA from asylum seekers at the border, recent media reports confirm. This is the latest expansion of DNA collection as part of a program initiated...

June 1, 2021

President Biden released the first budget proposal of his presidency on May 29, a landmark for any new president. A presidential budget generally reflects the goals of the administration and can...

May 27, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) recently found that the Trump administration deported as many as 348 parents that had been separated from their children...

May 26, 2021

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) mishandled the coronavirus outbreak in detention centers so badly that it not only lead to horrific conditions and deaths among people in its custody...

May 20, 2021

The Biden administration inherited an immigration enforcement system devoted to detaining and deporting as many people as possible. During the Trump years, every undocumented immigrant in the...

May 19, 2021

One policy first created by the Trump administration is responsible for the greatest restriction on access to our immigration system for asylum seekers than any other. It provides no meaningful...

May 17, 2021

Newly revealed government documents provide details on the extent of the Trump administration’s retaliation against people who provided legal assistance to asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border...

May 12, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently withdrew two rules proposed by the Trump administration. On the surface, it seems they have nothing in common: a proposed expansion in collecting...

July 30, 2019
A federal district court has rejected the government’s second attempt to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's unlawful turnbacks of asylum seekers who present themselves at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border – including its attempt to choke off asylum applications through a so-called “metering” process.
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.
July 1, 2019
A report on interior immigration enforcement by the American Immigration Council examines newly disclosed government data on the Trump administration’s aggressive enforcement agenda. The report, “Changing Patterns of Interior Immigration Enforcement in the United States, 2016–2018,” reveals that U.S. citizens and immigrant women have become increasingly vulnerable to immigration enforcement actions under the administration.
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.
June 19, 2019
A class action lawsuit challenges the Department of Homeland Security and its component agencies’ nationwide practice of failing to timely respond to requests for immigration files under the Freedom of Information Act.
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 7, 2019
A federal district court in Seattle, Washington has certified two nationwide classes of detained asylum seekers who are challenging the government’s delays in providing asylum interviews and bond hearings.
October 29, 2021
The Biden administration announced that DHS will issue a new memo to formally terminate the Migrant Protection Protocols. It is an important step towards ensuring that the MPP program never returns.
October 29, 2021
The American Immigration Council and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) advocated for attorney access in immigration detention facilities in a letter sent a letter to DHS and ICE.
October 28, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued “Guidelines for Enforcement Actions in or Near Protected Areas”—a new memo that provides a framework for when and where DHS law enforcement...

October 26, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published new data last week showing that over the past 12 months, the Border Patrol has carried out nearly 1.7 million apprehensions at the southern...

October 21, 2021

In a split decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on October 20 lifted a lower court’s protections for medically vulnerable people locked up in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE...

October 20, 2021
The Council and partners urged ICE and USCIS in a letter to ensure timely credible and reasonable fear interviews at U.S. immigration detention centers.
October 19, 2021

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been known to improperly subject individuals in its custody to solitary confinement and has destroyed solitary confinement records in violation...

October 19, 2021
The Council, AILA, and the Immigration Justice Campaign commented on the proposed creation of “Dedicated Docket” in immigration court to complete the claims of asylum-seeking families within 300 days...
October 18, 2021

Two months after a federal court ordered the Biden administration to reinstate the so-called Migrant Protection Protocols (also known as “Remain in Mexico”), the administration announced that it...

October 15, 2021
The Biden administration announced today that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to revive and reimplement the Migrant Protection Protocols by mid-November. The Council believes that plans to restart the program is a betrayal of the president’s campaign promises and a sign that this administration is failing to reenvision border management and the way that we treat asylum seekers.

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