Enforcement

The U.S. immigration system is complex and can be difficult to understand. These resources provide key data points, historical information, and background on hot topics in immigration. Learn the basics about immigration.

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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...
April 17, 2012
In April, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Arizona v. United States, a case addressing the legality of the Arizona immigration law known as SB 1070. According to the statement...
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...
September 16, 2016
The statement calls to attention our concerns about over-broad enforcement actions and detention of asylum seekers and families.
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.
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.
January 3, 2014
Long used in criminal trials, motions to suppress can lead to the exclusion of evidence obtained by the government in violation of the Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, or related provisions of federal law. While the immediate purpose of filing a motion to suppress is to prevent the government from meeting its burden of proof, challenges to unlawfully obtained evidence can also deter future violations by law enforcement officers and thereby protect the rights of other noncitizens. The Supreme Court held in INS v. Lopez-Mendoza, 468 U.S. 1032 (1984), that motions to suppress evidence under the Fourth Amendment in immigration proceedings should be granted only for “egregious” violations or if violations became “widespread.” Despite this stringent standard, noncitizens have prevailed in many cases on motions to suppress.
October 4, 2013
The Council, along with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), is seeking to preserve federal court review of damages actions brought by noncitizens for abuse of authority by immigration agents. In actions brought under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), the government routinely moves to dismiss these cases on a variety of jurisdictional grounds, including by arguing that INA § 242(g) bars the court’s review of damages claims in any case involving removal procedures, and that a remedy under Bivens is not available in immigration-related actions. In essence, the government is attempting to deprive those who have been harmed by immigration agents of any remedy in federal court.
September 18, 2019

At a new training facility at Fort Benning in Georgia, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is reportedly planning to build “hyper-realistic” simulations of homes, schools, courtrooms,...

September 12, 2019

The Supreme Court issued an emergency ruling on Wednesday allowing the Trump administration to implement a ban on asylum seekers at the southern land border. The ban applies to people who...

September 9, 2019

The first thing many people forcibly returned to Mexico tell you is that they’re afraid. Afraid of the cartels, afraid of Mexican immigration officials, and afraid of the months of uncertainty....

September 6, 2019

The Trump administration is raiding the Department of Defense’s budget to fund construction of its border wall. According to Pentagon officials, 127 military construction projects will be canceled...

September 4, 2019

Border Patrol agents placed a detained 9-year-old girl with a kidney disease at high risk of a urinary tract infection by not allowing her to shower or change her underwear for five days. Agents...

August 30, 2019

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently notified Congress of its intent to pull $271 million dollars from FEMA, the Coast Guard, and TSA for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)....

August 29, 2019

Immigration judges from across the country will soon be reassigned from their normal caseload to  preside over thousands of immigration cases along the U.S.-Mexico border, reportedly in an effort...

August 26, 2019

Over 2,000 people from Central American who were seeking to live in the United States have reportedly given up and accepted a “free ride” home under a new, controversial program funded by the U.S...

August 22, 2019

The Trump administration announced a new regulation on Wednesday allowing for the indefinite detention of immigrant children. The new regulation will end the Flores Settlement Agreement. Flores is...

August 20, 2019

The Trump administration’s latest asylum ban went into effect in New Mexico and Texas—but not California and Arizona—on Friday after a ruling from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling...

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
June 2, 2017
Access to legal counsel is a core American value and is the cornerstone of our justice system. Yet, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has severely limited access to legal assistance for asylum-seeking women and children held in family detention facilities.
May 25, 2017
AILA and the Council have petitioned the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State to issue new regulations that will ensure all immigrants have access to legal counsel in secondary and deferred inspection, as well as overseas consular interviews.
March 10, 2017
Immigrant rights groups asked the Washington District Court to again enjoin the Trump Administration’s “Muslim Ban” executive order.
February 17, 2017
The memo calls for the expansion of detentions and deportations, the hiring of more Border Patrol agents, the use of State National Guards, the building of a border wall, and the creation of new barriers for asylum seekers, among other provisions.
January 25, 2017
President Trump announced executive orders that are intended to follow through on campaign promises to build a wall and deport millions. Here's our response.
January 17, 2017
A coalition of immigrant and civil rights groups filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, last Friday and the Office of Inspector General, 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.
December 22, 2016
This registry, known as the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), was shown to be ineffective and had not been used for years.
October 16, 2019

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law on Friday that will phase out private prisons—including federal immigration detention centers—throughout the state. The new law, AB 32,...

October 15, 2019
A federal court in San Francisco certified two nationwide classes of immigrants and attorneys claiming that U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have a systemic pattern and practice of failing to provide access to immigration case records within deadlines set by the Freedom of Information Act. The case records, known as A-files, contain information about individuals’ immigration history in the United States. This is the first time a court has certified a class in a lawsuit alleging a pattern and practice of violating FOIA
October 14, 2019
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 11, 2019

People in immigration detention who are represented by an attorney are more likely to receive a positive outcome in immigration court than those that face judges alone. Unfortunately, people who...

October 10, 2019

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has arrested millions of people based on unreliable electronic databases. In a recent court decision with nationwide impact, a federal judge in...

October 8, 2019

Officers from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—a law enforcement agency with a history of misconduct and abuse—are reportedly conducting screenings of asylum seekers pursuing protection in...

October 7, 2019

Nebane Abienwi, a 37-year-old man who had recently fled war-torn Cameroon, died in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody on Tuesday. His passing—the first of the new fiscal year...

October 2, 2019

A federal judge on Friday blocked the Trump administration’s attempts to significantly undo the Flores Settlement Agreement, which mandates certain protections for children held in immigration...

This lawsuit seeks to uncover information about the government’s troubling new practice of employing U.S. Custom and Border Protection officers to screen asylum seekers.
October 2, 2019
The American Immigration Council and Tahirih Justice Center filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in federal court to compel the government to release records about the Trump administration’s troubling new practice of allowing U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers to screen individuals seeking asylum in the United States. The lawsuit seeks these documents to shed light on changes to the asylum screening process, CBP’s role in conducting interviews and making determinations regarding an asylum seeker’s “credible fear” of persecution, and the measures taken by CBP, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Department of Homeland Security to implement this new practice.

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