Humanitarian Protection

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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May 26, 2011
The dramatic announcement on May 17, 2011 that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would extend Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for another eighteen months to Haitians, including those who...
October 21, 2010

In March 2008, the Bureau of Population, Migration and Refugees (PRM)—the Department of State agency that processes refugees abroad—halted its family...

January 22, 2010
Following the devastating earthquake which struck Haiti on January 12, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on January 15...
December 1, 2005
In the United States, human traffickers most frequently exploit the desperation of undocumented immigrants as a means of obtaining victims. Until recently, their lack of legal status precluded...
June 1, 2005
Thirty years after the fall of the Saigon government, Vietnamese Americans celebrate the fact that they have moved far beyond their refugee origins and become successful economic and political...
February 1, 2005
The efficiency of the asylum program depends in large part on a fully staffed and adequately funded Asylum Corps that evaluates asylum claims thoroughly and expeditiously.
June 1, 2004
Although the federal government has made significant progress over the past three years in fighting human trafficking, more is needed to end this 21st century slave trade.
July 31, 2018
The American Immigration Council submitted a written statement to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for a July 31, 2018 hearing on “Oversight of Immigration Enforcement and Family Reunification Efforts.”
In the year and a half since the FOIA request was filed, CBP largely failed to provide any records in response to the request. On June 11, 2018, the Council, represented by O’Melveny & Myers LLP, filed a lawsuit to compel DHS and CBP to comply with FOIA and to release additional records related to the 2016 request.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers all too frequently deny individuals fleeing persecution and torture their right to seek protection in the United States, issue summary removal orders against them, and then falsify documents to support their illegal actions.
May 22, 2018
The statement shares our analysis and research regarding the nation's asylum system and the United States' obligations, as well as our deep concern around the administration's family separation policies and increased prosecution of migrants for entry-related offenses that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have implemented.
May 22, 2018

The American Immigration Council submitted a written statement to the House Homeland Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security for a May 22, 2018 hearing on “Stopping the Daily Border Caravan:...

The requests ask for policies, guidelines, or procedures followed or used by immigration enforcement regarding the treatment of pregnant individuals in custody and any system used to track and monitor pregnant detainees.
April 18, 2018

The American Immigration Council submitted a written statement to the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Border Security and Immigration for an April 18, 2018 hearing on “Strengthening and Reforming...

The American Immigration Council has filed a class action lawsuit against officials at the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and U.S. Department of Homeland Security in a federal district court in New York, challenging the government’s unlawful practice of depriving certain Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders with close family relationships or employment in the United States from becoming lawful permanent residents.
February 19, 2018
In the case, Attorney General Jeff Sessions referred to himself questions related to administrative closure. This move by Sessions could signal an attempt to end administrative closure altogether—which could force over 350,000 immigrants back into immigration court, exacerbating the challenges of an already overburdened immigration court system.
December 11, 2017
The practice of dividing families raises Constitutional due process concerns under the Fifth Amendment, violates United States’ obligations under international law, and contravenes voluminous evidence maintaining that family separation is not in the best interest of the child.
January 13, 2020

People who come to the United States in search of protection must be allowed to work during the often-lengthy asylum application process. They need to be able to support themselves and their...

January 8, 2020

In yet another move to gut asylum protections in the United States, the Trump administration proposed a rule last month that would add severe new restrictions on asylum access. The restrictions...

January 7, 2020

Update: On January 15, federal Judge Peter Messitte issued a preliminary injunction temporarily blocking the Trump administration from enforcing its executive order giving state and local...

December 4, 2019

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—the agency responsible for systematically separating thousands of migrant families in the summer of 2018—lacked the technology or mechanisms to record and...

November 25, 2019

Over the last decade, the remains of more than 1,600 people have been found in the Arizona desert. Groups like No More Deaths, whose mission is “ending death and suffering in the U.S.-Mexico...

November 20, 2019

In yet another major blow to America’s asylum system, on Wednesday the Trump administration reportedly began sending some asylum seekers from Honduras and El Salvador to Guatemala rather than...

November 18, 2019

Nearly 60,000 people seeking asylum in the United States have been returned to Mexico to wait for their U.S. court hearings under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the Remain...

November 14, 2019

In a new proposal officially put forward on Thursday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) called for major fee hikes for immigration-related applications. The cost for becoming a...

November 7, 2019

The Trump administration is proposing a new rule that would delay work authorization for people seeking asylum in the United States. The move is drawing opposition from advocates across the...

October 29, 2019

Following an agreement between the governments of the United States and El Salvador, Salvadorans with Temporary Protected Status (TPS) will be able to extend their status for another year into...

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 2, 2019
A federal court has blocked a Trump administration policy that categorically denies bond hearings to asylum-seekers. The policy, announced April 16 by Attorney General William Barr, targeted asylum-seekers whom immigration officers previously determined have a “credible fear” of persecution or torture if returned to the places they fled. The American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and American Civil Liberties Union challenged the policy with the lawsuit Padilla v. ICE.
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 16, 2019
In a decision today, Attorney General William Barr ruled that individuals with valid protection asylum claims who entered between ports of entry no longer are eligible for release on bond by an immigration judge. The decision could result in the unnecessary detention of thousands more individuals each year, despite the enormous financial and human costs. With the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project and the ACLU, the American Immigration Council intends to challenge the new decision.
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.
April 3, 2019
The complaint demands an immediate investigation into systemic due process concerns at the El Paso Service Processing Center (SPC) immigration court in El Paso, Texas.
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 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 11, 2019
In their claims, the mothers describe the harrowing circumstances in which immigration officers ripped their children away from them.
January 25, 2019
The policy will require many individuals seeking protection in the United States to stay in Mexico for prolonged periods of time as they await an immigration court hearing. With U.S. immigration courts overwhelmingly backlogged, asylum seekers risk spending months or even years in very risky conditions.
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.
March 31, 2020
A federal court in Arizona allowed five asylum-seeking mothers and their children who were torn apart under the Trump administration’s family separation policy to move forward with a lawsuit against the United States for the cruel treatment and anguish U.S. immigration agencies inflicted on them. The court denied the government’s motion to dismiss the case.
March 27, 2020
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has upheld a ruling blocking a Trump administration policy that categorically denies bond hearings to asylum seekers. The case is Padilla v. ICE.
March 23, 2020

The Trump administration detailed its plans to begin rapidly deporting to Mexico people encountered at or near the southern border—without any due process—as the coronavirus continues to spread...

March 18, 2020

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has historically conducted immigration enforcement along our borders. In this role, the agency has developed a reputation for overuse and abuse of its...

March 11, 2020

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) revealed new information this week about two asylum programs  at the U.S.-Mexico border. These programs are under scrutiny because they make it almost...

March 5, 2020
A Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals panel today blocked the Trump administration’s asylum transit ban from being applied to thousands of asylum seekers who were unlawfully prevented from accessing the U.S. asylum process before the ban was implemented. The decision lifts a prior administrative stay of the district court’s preliminary injunction. That injunction prohibits the government from applying the asylum ban to those who had been illegally metered before the ban went into effect.
March 3, 2020

The Trump administration suffered another blow on Sunday, when a federal judge in Washington D.C. ruled that Ken Cuccinelli was unlawfully appointed to the role of acting director of U.S....

February 28, 2020
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the Trump administration’s Migrant Protection Protocols, also known as the “Remain in Mexico” program. Nearly 60,000 people seeking asylum in the United States have been returned to Mexico to wait for their U.S. court hearings under MPP.
February 19, 2020
A federal court ordered U.S. Customs and Border Protection to overhaul the way the agency detains people in its custody in the Tucson Sector. The court found that the conditions in CBP holding cells, especially those that preclude sleep over several nights, are presumptively punitive and violate the U.S. Constitution.

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