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

Publication Date: 
May 21, 2010
The intent of Arizona’s SB 1070, the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act,” is to chase illegal immigrants out of the state. Or, as the new law puts it more formally: “to make...
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April 26, 2010
Many people believe that only illegal immigrants are deported. However, thousands of long-term legal immigrants are deported each year. While some are deported for committing serious crimes, many...
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April 15, 2010
The Secure Border Initiative (SBI), launched by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2005, is a cautionary tale of the dangers inherent in seeking a technological quick fix to the problem of...
Publication Date: 
April 2, 2010
Updated 04/02/10 Since 2004, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) has greatly expanded its partnerships with local police through the 287(g) program. As of March 2010, more than 1,...
Publication Date: 
March 2, 2010
The month of March marks the seventh anniversary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its immigration agencies. It also marks the end of a sweeping internal review ordered by Secretary...
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February 22, 2010
Study Finds Significant Behavioral Changes in Children After Raids Children of unauthorized immigrant parents are often forgotten in debates over immigration reform. There are roughly 5.5 million...
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February 17, 2010
The Criminal Alien Program (CAP) is a program administered by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that screens inmates in prisons and jails, identifies deportable non-citizens, and places them...
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February 4, 2010
The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) reports that federal immigration prosecutions rose to record levels during fiscal year...
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November 9, 2009
From the Revolutionary War to the current conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, immigrants have made significant contributions to the United States by serving in our military forces. Today, immigrants...
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October 21, 2009
While some characterize our immigration crisis as solely an issue of the 11 to 12 million unauthorized immigrants living in this country, our problems extend beyond the number of undocumented people...
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.
Publication Date: 
October 25, 2016
The American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the American Immigration Law Association, filed an amicus brief in the case Jennings v. Rodriguez, calling for the Court to overturn Demore v. Kim and end mandatory detention.
September 16, 2016
The statement calls to attention our concerns about over-broad enforcement actions and detention of asylum seekers and families.
Publication Date: 
September 15, 2015

The American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the American Immigration Lawyers Association, filed an amicus brief in Guerra v. Shanahan.  The amicus brief argued that the pre-...

July 23, 2015
The statement explains our recent research which shows that immigrants are less likely to commit serious crimes than native-born persons, and that high rates of immigration are associated with lower rates of violent crime and property crime.
The class-action lawsuit complaint alleges that Tucson Sector Border Patrol holds men, women, and children in freezing, overcrowded, and filthy cells for days at a time in violation of the U.S. Constitution and CBP’s own policies.
In March 2015, the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the Law Office of Stacy Tolchin, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, filed a class action lawsuit against CBP over its nationwide pattern and practice of failing to timely respond to requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The plaintiffs included both immigration attorneys and individuals, all of whom had FOIA requests pending for over 20 business days.
On October 21, 2014, the American Immigration Council, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, with co-counsel, the National Immigration Law Center and Jenner & Block LLP, filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act to compel the release of government documents regarding the use of the expedited removal process against families with children, including those detained by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Artesia, New Mexico. The suit was filed in the federal district court for the Southern District of New York.
On August 22, 2014, the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the National Immigration Law Center, Van Der Hout Brigagliano & Nightingale LLP, and Jenner & Block, filed this lawsuit in the federal district court for the District of Columbia. The case was a systemic challenge to the policies denying a fair deportation process to mothers and children detained in the Artesia Family Residential Center who had fled extreme violence, death threats, rape, and persecution in Central America and come to the United States seeking safety.
Publication Date: 
January 21, 2014
The American Immigration Council and National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG) are seeking to preserve federal court review of damages actions brought by noncitizens for abuse of authority by immigration agents.
December 15, 2021

By Katy Murdza and Rebekah Wolf, American Immigration Council staff Collaboration between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has led to...

December 14, 2021

President Biden took office committing to unwind Trump’s border policies and go in a new direction—to reunite families, restore access to asylum, and reverse “policies enacted over the last 4...

December 3, 2021

Following months of negotiations with Mexico, the Biden administration announced that it would reinstate the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols (informally known as the “Remain in Mexico”...

November 30, 2021

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) plan to collect information from more individuals before they arrive at the border has raised questions about how the agency will gather and use the...

November 18, 2021

Data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shows that the number of individuals apprehended by the Border Patrol at the U.S.-Mexico border fell by 15% from September to October,...

November 16, 2021

Four years ago, immigration lawyers and advocates began to see a disturbing practice emerge: the U.S. government began to forcibly separate children—some very young—from their parents at the...

November 10, 2021

By Tsion Gurmu, Legal Manager and Staff Attorney at the Black Alliance for Just Immigration and Emily Creighton, Legal Director of Transparency The public watched in horror this September as U.S....

November 3, 2021

In a landmark court decision, Geo Group—one of the largest private prison companies that own and/or manage dozens of immigrant detention centers across the United States—was found to have violated...

October 29, 2021

By Emma Winger, Staff Attorney, American Immigration Council, and Eunice Cho, Sr. Staff Attorney, ACLU National Prison Project “Ben G.” is a 35-year-old veterinarian from Nicaragua who fled to the...

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...

December 5, 2018
A report on immigration detention examines the United States’ complex, sprawling network of facilities used to detain immigrants. The report, “The Landscape of Immigration Detention in the United States,” reveals that detained individuals were commonly held in facilities operated by private entities and located in remote areas, far away from basic community support structures and legal advocacy networks.
November 8, 2018
The Trump administration revealed today a new interim final regulation that restricts access to asylum at the border, causing chaos and uncertainty for many seeking protection.
October 16, 2018
In a new court filing, asylum seekers and an immigrant rights group are challenging the Trump administration’s policy and practice of turning back asylum seekers at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border
September 21, 2018
Yesterday, plaintiffs in an ongoing lawsuit challenging the U.S. government’s targeted efforts to obstruct asylum seekers filed a motion for preliminary injunction demanding timely bond hearings that comport with due process.
September 6, 2018
The Trump administration proposed new regulations that could lead to the indefinite detention—and needless suffering—of asylum-seeking children.
August 23, 2018
The complaint points to numerous examples, including that of Mrs. D.P., who was separated from her 9-year-old daughter for 47 days as a result of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' "zero-tolerance" border policy.
August 16, 2018
As government officials and policymakers weigh the potential expansion of family detention, this report reveals how detention impacts asylum-seeking families and their claims for protection.
July 26, 2018
"The government’s failure to comply with the court order to reunify the thousands of separated children and parents confirms the administration’s utter disregard for the humane and fair treatment of families coming to our country in search of protection."
July 9, 2018
Leaders of several immigrant and human rights organizations were invited for the first time under the Trump administration to meet with Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen.
June 27, 2018
The lawsuit asks the court to compel the agencies to produce family separation documents in response to FOIA requests submitted in April.
June 2, 2023

Usurping the role of the federal government, state legislatures in Florida and Texas have proposed multiple harmful immigration bills during this year’s legislative session. Several Florida...

May 24, 2023

The Supreme Court has agreed to decide a case that asks the Court to overturn Chevron v. National Resources Defense Council—an influential decision that requires courts to defer to federal...

May 19, 2023

One of the biggest concerns after the end of the Title 42 policy of mass expulsion at the U.S.-Mexico border was that large numbers of people would cross in the hours and days afterward. When the...

May 11, 2023

Back in February, when the Biden administration proposed a new regulation that would essentially restrict the vast majority of border crossers from qualifying for asylum, we broke it down with a...

May 9, 2023

With the pandemic-related expulsion policy “Title 42” set to expire May 11, the House GOP introduced its first large-scale border and immigration package on Monday. The bill combines three...

May 2, 2023

Title 42 – a policy that has allowed the U.S. government to expel border-crossers without giving them a chance to seek asylum – is expected to officially sunset next week. Federal courts prevented...

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....

April 21, 2023

With all eyes on the U.S.-Mexico border ahead of the end of Title 42 on May 11, Texas lawmakers are pushing to increase the state’s role in enforcing federal immigration laws—despite Supreme Court...

April 20, 2023

A family with a baby, waiting outside in the cold overnight. A pregnant woman, enduring the elements for multiple days. An Afghan who worked for the U.S. Army as a translator, hoping for food and...

April 19, 2023

On Monday, April 17, the House GOP introduced its first comprehensive border bill of the 118th Congress. The bill comes after months of disagreement within the caucus surrounding legislative...

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