Enforcement

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 Enforcement Content

April 11, 2012
Discretion takes many forms throughout the immigration enforcement process. Every removal of a noncitizen from the United States, for example, reflects a series of complex choices which reflect...
April 1, 2012
Proportionality is the notion that the severity of a sanction should not be excessive in relation to the gravity of an offense. The principle is ancient and nearly uncontestable, and its operation...
February 23, 2012
As federal officers, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents may only exercise the authority granted under federal statutes and regulations. This fact sheet provides a snapshot of search, interrogation...
February 16, 2012
What You Need to Know if Your State is Considering Anti-immigrant Legislation...
February 6, 2012
By Michele Waslin The day that Alabama’s draconian anti-immigrant law...
November 29, 2011
This paper describes the Secure Communities program, identifies concerns about the program’s design and implementation, and makes recommendations for the future of the program.
November 29, 2011
The Secure Communities Program, which launched in March 2008, has been held out as a simplified model for state and local cooperation with federal immigration enforcement. This fact sheet lays out...
November 9, 2011
Although key provisions of Alabama’s HB 56 are on hold while its constitutionality is being tested in the courts, evidence is mounting of the growing fiscal and economic impact of the new law. State...
November 8, 2011
(Updated November 2011) - Arizona’s infamous anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, has spawned many imitators. In a growing number of state houses around the country, bills have been passed or...
November 1, 2011
Turning Off the Water: How the Contracting and Transaction...
September 26, 2017

The American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), and others...

Asylum seekers are being illegally turned away by Customs and Border Protection officers. We're suing.
This case stems from Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) decision to bar Caroline Perris, a full-time legal assistant with the Dilley Pro Bono Project (DPBP), from entering the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas.
May 25, 2017
This petition, jointly filed by the Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association, seeks to provide access to legal counsel for the following individuals.
May 23, 2017
The statement shares our analysis of infrastructure and personnel investments already made by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as well as our reporting on improvements needed at its border enforcement agency, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), to ensure integrity of operations along the Southern Border.
March 27, 2017
This amicus brief arguing that any Fourth Amendment violation by state and local law enforcement officers — not just egregious Fourth Amendments violations — should require the suppression of evidence in immigration court proceedings, which is the same standard that applies in the criminal justice arena.
February 7, 2017
The statement shares our analysis and research regarding an unnecessary border wall and the already massive investment that has been made along the Southwest border.
This intervention is needed to protect the integrity of the United States’ immigrant visa process and the families diligently seeking to reunite with their loved ones.
January 13, 2017
A coalition of immigrant and civil rights groups filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties on behalf of numerous adult men and women, families and unaccompanied children who, over the past several months, were denied entry to the United States at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border despite having asserted a fear of returning to their home countries or an intention to seek asylum under U.S. law.
The Council and its partners filed suit after CBP failed to respond to a 2013 FOIA After the case was filed, CBP disclosed only a handful of documents—primarily, indices of two ORT chapters without any substantive information—and then moved for summary judgment, claiming that it was not required to search for or produce any additional documents.
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...

February 3, 2020

Three years into the Trump administration, it’s become clear that we have lost our rudder. For a nation that long-provided a welcome mat to the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, our...

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 27, 2020

Monday marks the third anniversary of the Trump administration’s travel ban—a presidential proclamation that needlessly divides families on the basis of their religion and nationality. The...

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 23, 2020

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began collecting DNA from people held at the border earlier this month. This is part of a pilot program that DHS plans to expand nationwide. The program...

January 22, 2020

Iranian students coming to the United States are being stopped at airports, having their visas revoked, and are being deported. Advocates warn this trend is emerging less than a month after...

January 21, 2020

The Trump administration received an unfortunate victory in the case against their family separation policy. On January 13, 2020, Federal Judge Dana Sabraw sided with the government in a lawsuit...

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...

March 29, 2018
The practice of detaining pregnant women is inhumane and unsafe.
January 18, 2018
The lawsuit challenges the practice of three of the four sitting immigration judges in the Charlotte Immigration Court who refuse to conduct bond hearings—even though they are required to do so—and are consequently prolonging the detention of bond-eligible individuals for several weeks.
January 12, 2018
The Immigration Justice Campaign (Justice Campaign), a joint initiative between the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the American Immigration Council (Council), and the Rocky Mountain Immigrant Advocacy Network (RMIAN), located in Westminster, Colorado, announce their partnership to increase pro bono representation for individuals in immigration detention in Colorado.
December 11, 2017
A complaint on behalf of family members who have been forcibly separated while in custody at the southern border of the United States was filed with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General and Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties.
October 8, 2017
The White House released its long anticipated, "Immigration Principles and Policies," which lay out many of the already-stated aspirations of the Trump administration on immigration. The laundry list represents a wholesale attack on immigration and immigrants. It includes not only limits on immigration generally, but enables mass deportations and envisions bypassing necessary procedures that protect children and asylum seekers.
September 26, 2017
The issues addressed in the complaint are of immediate concern given the Trump administration’s executive orders directing ICE to dramatically expand immigration enforcement actions and increase the number of individuals subject to immigration detention.
August 16, 2017
The parties in Dilley Pro Bono Project v. ICE have reached a settlement that ensures access to mental health evaluations for certain detained mothers and children seeking asylum.
July 12, 2017

Washington D.C. - Today an immigrant rights group and several asylum seekers filed a class action lawsuit against officials at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S.

June 28, 2017
A U.S. District Court condemned the federal government for continuing to disregard critical protections for children in detention.
June 19, 2017
The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) are responding to this representation crisis with an Immigration Justice Campaign, a new initiative to prepare more lawyers to be cutting-edge defenders of immigrants facing deportatio
May 14, 2020
The American Immigration Council, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Human Rights Watch, and the law firm Winston & Strawn LLP filed a lawsuit in the U.S. Northern District of California today to compel the release of records about the US Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program.
This Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeks to uncover information about the Migration Protection Protocols (MPP)—also known as the "Remain in Mexico" program.
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 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.
May 7, 2020
ICE must stop transferring people—some of whom may already have COVID-19—across the country between detention centers.
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:

The American Immigration Council filed a lawsuit after Immigrant Customs Enforcement (ICE) failed to respond to a Freedom of Information...

May 4, 2020

A free phone call can mean the difference between a fair day in court and being deported to harm—or worse—for individuals held in immigration detention centers. Immigrants may not be able to meet...

April 28, 2020

The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) proposed rule mandating the collection of DNA from nearly all immigrants in government custody became final on April 8, 2020. For the first time in U.S. history,...

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.

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