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

October 10, 2015
The term “sanctuary city” is often used incorrectly to describe trust acts or community policing policies that limit entanglement between local police and federal immigration authorities. Here are...
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...

June 26, 2015
This Guide provides information about the tens of thousands of children—some travelling with their parents and others alone—who have fled their homes in Central America and arrived at our southern...
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...

May 4, 2014
Of the 809 complaints of alleged abuse lodged against Border Patrol agents between January 2009 and January 2012, 97 percent resulted in “No Action Taken.” On average, CBP took 122 days to arrive at...
April 28, 2014
The deportation process has been transformed drastically over the last two decades. Today, two-thirds of individuals deported are subject to what are known as “summary removal procedures,” which...
March 13, 2014

No one can say with certainty when the Obama administration will reach the grim milestone of having deported two million people since the President took...

March 1, 2014
Despite some highly public claims to the contrary, there has been no waning of immigration enforcement in the United States.
December 18, 2013
In late June 2012, the Supreme Court struck down three provisions of Arizona’s SB 1070 and left a fourth vulnerable to future legal challenge. As has been well documented, the Court’s rejection of SB...
December 10, 2013
This two-part series highlights the findings of the Migrant Border Crossing Study—a binational, multi-institution study of 1,110 randomly selected, recently repatriated migrants surveyed in six...
April 19, 2019
In this case, the Federal Defenders of San Diego argue that the court should have conducted a deeper inquiry into the voluntariness of a guilty plea offered by 18-year-old Claudia Hernandez-Becerra because she spent three days detained in an “hielera” before her arraignment for entering the United States without permission.
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...

August 10, 2020

Three men died in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody on within a week of each other. Two of the men died in hospitals after being diagnosed with COVID-19, while the other died...

August 3, 2020

The United States Border Patrol raided a humanitarian aid camp in Arizona on July 31, detaining volunteers and over 30 people receiving care. The camp—known as Byrd Camp—is run by No More Deaths (...

July 29, 2020

The Trump administration has been detaining immigrant children in hotels along the Texas-Mexico border and in Arizona. Some of the children are just a year old and are held in the hotels for weeks...

July 27, 2020

The May 25 killing of George Floyd by Minnesota police officers rightly sparked public outrage and protests throughout the United States. In response, the Trump administration deployed federal...

July 20, 2020

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced last week that it was launching a “Citizens Academy” in Chicago. The move justifiably generated everything from confusion to anger and fear...

July 16, 2020

Another man has died in immigration detention from COVID-19. His tragic and avoidable death marks the deadly end to a jail-to-deportation pipeline that disproportionately targets Black and Brown...

July 14, 2020

In a blow to government transparency, the Trump administration has decided to designate Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) a “security/sensitive agency.” The move further shields ICE from...

July 9, 2020

Even as President Trump downplays the threat of COVID-19, the Trump administration is using the pandemic as a pretext to bar more people from asylum in the United States. While the proposal is...

July 8, 2020

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security introduced their proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2021 (beginning October 1, 2020) this week. The budget would have significant...

July 6, 2020

Immigrant children who arrive in the United States without a parent are placed in shelters or foster care while their guardianship and immigration process play out. But all too often, U.S....

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.
February 28, 2019
The Trump administration’s immigration enforcement policies have increased immigrants’ vulnerability to swift deportation, making the ability to access safeguard more important than ever. The American Immigration Council and the Kathryn O. Greenberg Immigration Justice Clinic at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law filed a lawsuit to disclose critical information about how the Board of Immigration Appeals interprets legal safeguards that would allow these individuals to seek reopening or reconsidering of their immigration cases, and prevent the irreparable harms that can result from deportation.
February 27, 2019
The Southern Poverty Law Center, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the American Immigration Council filed a motion late last week seeking information regarding possible U.S. government harassment and retaliation against the leadership of the immigrants’ rights organization Al Otro Lado.
February 15, 2019
After months of threats, the longest government shutdown in history, and the passage of a bipartisan compromise on federal funding for homeland security, President Trump declared a national emergency to fund the building of a border wall without congressional approval. The president took this step despite strong bipartisan opposition to declaring a national emergency.
October 30, 2020

Congress released the “first complete narrative” on the Trump administration’s “Zero Tolerance” policy on October 30. This hallmark of President Trump’s immigration legacy led to the forcible...

U.S. Customs and Border Protection may have mistreated migrant children when implementing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention interim final rule that suspends people from entering the United States due to the COVID 19 pandemic.
October 30, 2020
Children and immigration advocacy groups filed a lawsuit in the Northern District of Illinois against CBP requesting information about the agency’s implementation of the CDC rule suspending people from entering the United States due to the COVID 19 pandemic and its specific impact on unaccompanied migrant children fleeing harm and seeking protection in the United States.
October 29, 2020

Over 60,000 people at the southern border have been forced to return to Mexico under the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program. As...

October 28, 2020

Once a year, National Pro Bono Week celebrates the pro bono work of lawyers, paralegals, and law students. Pro bono legal services—which come at no cost—are integral for many people otherwise left...

Given the agency’s history of civil and human rights abuses that have largely gone unchecked, and the possibility of continued deployments, there is an urgent need for further information about CBP’s participation in these law enforcement efforts.
October 28, 2020
Civil and immigrants’ rights organizations filed a FOIA lawsuit today in the Eastern District of New York against CBP demanding information about the federal agency’s involvement in domestic policing at protests, demonstrations, and gatherings across the United States following the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minnesota.
October 26, 2020

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) continues to mismanage the spread of the coronavirus in its facilities nationwide—and the consequences might be far more deadly than the agency wants...

October 22, 2020
The brief argues that DHS’ service practices for MPP tear sheets deny respondents their statutory right to notice of the time and place of their removal proceedings, their statutory right to a full and fair hearing, and, consequently, due process of law.
October 21, 2020
Sanctuary policies do not conceal or shelter unauthorized immigrants from detection. Here's what you need to know about these policies.

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