Border 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 Border Enforcement Content

May 13, 2021
This Council fact sheet provides an overview and analysis of border encounters and border apprehensions in 2021.
January 28, 2021
This analysis of data provided by the federal government reveals that 83% of all nondetained immigrants with completed or pending removal cases attended all their hearings from 2008 to 2018.
January 26, 2021
U.S. immigration agencies use a range of programs to deport—or remove—certain noncitizens from the United States. Under the Trump administration, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and two of...
January 22, 2021
Under the “Migrant Protection Protocols”, individuals who arrive at the southern border and ask for asylum (either at a port of entry or after crossing the border between ports of entry) are given...
January 20, 2021
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.
January 10, 2020
Over the last two decades, the federal government increasingly has utilized the criminal courts to punish people for immigration violations. This overview provides basic information about entry-...
July 22, 2019
Expedited removal is a process by which low-level immigration officers can quickly deport certain noncitizens who are undocumented or have committed fraud or misrepresentation.
March 7, 2018
Enforcement of U.S. immigration laws has historically been guided by policies that emphasize prioritization. However, this practice has largely been abandoned since the inauguration of President...
August 2, 2017
This report raises more concerns about misconduct throughout Border Patrol sectors and shows Customs and Border Patrol has made little progress in its efforts to improve accountability.
April 24, 2017

The last time the Border Patrol received a large infusion of money to hire thousands of new agents, cases of corruption and misconduct spiked in the agency. New hires were not sufficiently vetted...

The Council filed multiple Freedom of Information Act requests to unearth the systems that the government uses in immigration enforcement and the data it collects.
The Council and Advocates for Basic Legal Equality have launched an investigation into the abusive practices of CBP officers and cooperation with local law enforcement in Ohio.
This Freedom of Information Act lawsuit calls on CBP to release records documenting the agency’s aggressive and militarized response to the provision of humanitarian aid.
February 12, 2021
The Council submitted this declaration in support of the ACLU's defense of the Biden Administration's moratorium on deportations. This declaration explains how the removal and detention system works.
This Freedom of Information Act request seeks to uncover Customs and Border Protection’s actions and further expose its militarized response to the provision of humanitarian aid.
This request would show whether CBP is violating statutory protections intended for these youth.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request demands records regarding all CBP deployments to U.S. cities during the protests of George Floyd's death.
The Trump administration wants to increase its power to deport immigrants without a fair day in court through expedited removal. We’re suing.
This lawsuit seeks to compel U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to release records relating to CBP’s complaint process and actions taken in response to complaints made to CBP concerning its agents and officers since January 1, 2012.
The requests ask for policies, guidelines, or procedures followed or used by the governmental agencies to address the processing and treatment of families at the U.S.-Mexico border and specifically, the separation of adult family members from minor children and the criminal prosecution of adult family members.
August 1, 2017
This Practice Advisory addresses some of the legal issues that may arise when noncitizens in removal proceedings seek to suppress evidence unlawfully obtained by Customs and Border Protection officers.
November 1, 2015
This Practice Advisory discusses the impact of an interim rule repealing two former regulations which barred all “arriving aliens” from adjusting status if they are in removal proceedings. This Advisory provides a brief history leading to the rule, defines key terms, discusses the impact of the rule, and suggests steps that a parolee can take to benefit from the rule.
January 21, 2014
This Practice Advisory provides background information about requesting stays of removal from the court of appeals, discusses the legal standard for obtaining a stay, and addresses the implications of the government’s policy with respect to return of individuals who are successful on their appeal.
June 17, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on June 11 its plan for funds the Trump administration had planned to use to construct a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Unspent funds will...

June 10, 2021

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is collecting DNA from asylum seekers at the border, recent media reports confirm. This is the latest expansion of DNA collection as part of a program initiated...

May 27, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) recently found that the Trump administration deported as many as 348 parents that had been separated from their children...

May 19, 2021

One policy first created by the Trump administration is responsible for the greatest restriction on access to our immigration system for asylum seekers than any other. It provides no meaningful...

May 17, 2021

Newly revealed government documents provide details on the extent of the Trump administration’s retaliation against people who provided legal assistance to asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border...

April 13, 2021

A record number of migrant children are arriving to the U.S.-Mexico border alone. In March 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered nearly 19,000 unaccompanied minors—the most to...

April 8, 2021

Only days after President Biden took office, some people were already declaring that the border was in a state of crisis. But recently released U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics reveal...

April 2, 2021

Over the last two months, the Biden administration has been pressured to carry out another crackdown at the border as the number of arriving families and children rise. But officials making these...

March 23, 2021

The current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border—including the rise in immigrant children in U.S. government custody—has captured the nation’s attention in recent weeks. Much of the conversation...

March 19, 2021

A pause on border wall construction is set to expire on March 20, without an indication of what will happen next. President Biden signed a proclamation ordering the 60-day pause on his first day...

May 28, 2021
The Biden administration disclosed today a $54.2 billion budget request for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for fiscal year 2022. The request is is deeply disappointing and a missed opportunity to set immigration enforcement in the United States on a new path.
March 23, 2021
The nation has turned its attention to the current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border, including the rise in immigrant children in U.S. government custody. Much of the conversation has focused on a supposed surge in arrivals under the Biden administration, but the current increase began well before President Biden took office.
January 7, 2021
Immigrant rights advocates moved for a temporary restraining order to block the Trump administration’s latest attempt to circumvent an earlier court order prohibiting the government from applying an asylum ban to people whom U.S. Customs and Border Protection had previously turned away from ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border.
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.
January 23, 2020
During the course of the trial, a federal judge heard from qualified experts who testified on the inadequate medical care and severe conditions inside CBP detention centers.
November 20, 2019
The Trump administration published a new rule that seeks to implement safe third country agreements that the United States entered into with Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador—and bar many individuals seeking protection in the United States from being able to apply for asylum.
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.
May 7, 2018
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Immigration and Customs Enforcement acting Director Thomas Homan announced today that the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security will be stepping up prosecutions of individuals along the southern border—likely resulting in the criminalization of asylum seekers and more family separation.
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.
November 18, 2016
A federal district court found that U.S. Customs and Border Protection is violating the constitutional rights of people detained in holding facilities in Arizona and ordered the government to take steps to improve conditions in these facilities, known as hieleras.
June 17, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced on June 11 its plan for funds the Trump administration had planned to use to construct a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Unspent funds will...

June 10, 2021

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is collecting DNA from asylum seekers at the border, recent media reports confirm. This is the latest expansion of DNA collection as part of a program initiated...

May 28, 2021
The Biden administration disclosed today a $54.2 billion budget request for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for fiscal year 2022. The request is is deeply disappointing and a missed opportunity to set immigration enforcement in the United States on a new path.
May 27, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) recently found that the Trump administration deported as many as 348 parents that had been separated from their children...

May 19, 2021

One policy first created by the Trump administration is responsible for the greatest restriction on access to our immigration system for asylum seekers than any other. It provides no meaningful...

May 18, 2021
The Council urged the Biden administration to improve MPP wind down processing and toy move ahead with a second phase to include all individuals subjected to MPP.
May 17, 2021

Newly revealed government documents provide details on the extent of the Trump administration’s retaliation against people who provided legal assistance to asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border...

May 13, 2021
This Council fact sheet provides an overview and analysis of border encounters and border apprehensions in 2021.
May 3, 2021
In this letter, the Council and a diverse coalition call on the Biden administration to stop and reevaluate plans to destroy immigration agency records documenting abuse and misconduct.
April 13, 2021

A record number of migrant children are arriving to the U.S.-Mexico border alone. In March 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encountered nearly 19,000 unaccompanied minors—the most to...

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