Detention

Our legal system rests upon the principle that everyone is entitled to due process of law and a meaningful opportunity to be heard. But for far too long, the immigration system has failed to provide noncitizens with a system of justice that lives up to this standard. Learn about ways in which the immigration system could ensure that all noncitizens have a fair day in court.  

All Detention Content

Publication Date: 
December 17, 2015
These accounts reveal the dehumanizing conditions to which these women were subjected while in Border Patrol custody.
Publication Date: 
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...

Publication Date: 
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...

Publication Date: 
October 6, 2011
One of the ugliest myths in the immigration debate is that immigrants are more likely to commit crime or pose a danger to society. Although studies repeatedly have shown that immigrants are less...
Publication Date: 
July 6, 2011
One of the ugliest myths in the immigration debate involves the relationship between immigrants and crime. While studies repeatedly have shown that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than...
Publication Date: 
October 1, 2004
Over a thousand noncitizens face indefinite detention in the United States on the basis of a meaningless legal technicality.
This Freedom of Information Act lawsuit seeks to uncover information about the databases and systems that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agencies use in immigration enforcement.
May 27, 2021
The amicus brief in Ayom v. Garland urges the eighth circuit to affirm that mandatory detention has constitutional limits, and reject the endorsement of prolonged mandatory detention for people in removal proceedings.
The Council and Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI) are investigating the abuse and mistreatment of Black immigrants in ICE detention facilities located in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.
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.
February 26, 2021
In the amicus brief, the Council and partners reject Calhoun County's position to withhold records that otherwise would be released under the Michigan state FOIA.
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 request would show whether CBP is violating statutory protections intended for these youth.
August 7, 2020
In the amicus brief, the Council and partners documented the reliance on these records by researchers and advocates to monitor and expose troubling practices.
May 12, 2020
The American Immigration Council filed this amicus curiae brief in support of individuals who sought release from detention due to their significant risk of infection from COVID-19.

The American Immigration Council filed a lawsuit after Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) failed to timely respond to the Council’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

The...

February 14, 2022

The Omicron variant has spread through immigration detention like wildfire, with a record 14% of people in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody testing positive for COVID-19 as...

January 14, 2022

New leaked photos of Border Patrol stations in Yuma, Arizona show Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) inhumane treatment of people apprehended at the border— revealing that years of overcrowded...

January 12, 2022

Written by Caroline Walters and Kate Melloy Goettel  This week the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two related immigration cases. Each asks whether certain noncitizens are entitled to bond...

December 17, 2021

Immigration detention and enforcement in the United States under the first year of the Biden administration has been a mixture of improvements and setbacks. The Trump administration implemented...

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 21, 2021

In a split decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on October 20 lifted a lower court’s protections for medically vulnerable people locked up in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE...

October 19, 2021

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has been known to improperly subject individuals in its custody to solitary confinement and has destroyed solitary confinement records in violation...

October 13, 2021

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) need to establish clear guidance for when ICE should release someone from detention. So far, the Biden...

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.
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.
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.
March 29, 2018
The practice of detaining pregnant women is inhumane and unsafe.
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.
August 18, 2016
Today, groups made public damning evidence, including expert testimony and video stills illustrating the deplorable and unconstitutional conditions detained individuals are subjected to in Border Patrol custody in the agency’s Tucson Sector.
July 20, 2016
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson released a statement on plans to make “substantial changes” to the agency’s family detention policies. The following is a statement, in response, from Ben Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council.
July 7, 2016
The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association commented on the decision from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirming that the nearly 20-year-old Flores Settlement Agreement governs the custody and release of all immigrant children, and that the Obama Administration’s family detention practices violate that agreement.
This FOIA lawsuit seeks to compel U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to provide information about the agency’s treatment of Haitian nationals detained at the Torrance Detention Facility.
This Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeks to compel U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to publish information on its website about how the public can pay bonds and secure the release of a loved one from ICE detention.
February 3, 2023

Recently published data from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) provides insight into who ICE is detaining and for how long. The results show that the majority of noncitizens are being...

December 13, 2022

One might think that posting bond in the immigration system is a straightforward process. Immigration authorities set bond. A person pays the bond amount, and the incarcerated person is released....

December 9, 2022

After years of advocacy and widespread abuse, Berks County officials announced that the federal government was ending its contract for the Berks County detention center on January 31, 2023....

November 8, 2022

Solitary confinement is widely criticized as a cruel and unnecessary practice. It’s largely unsupported by the public as a disciplinary measure and badly in need of reform. On October 26, the...

November 4, 2022

Black immigrants in the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) disproportionately face abuse while in detention, a report released last week finds. Published by several...

October 13, 2022

Legal service organizations have sued U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for preventing people jailed at four immigration detention centers from having meaningful access to their...

October 6, 2022

An appellate court recently ruled that California’s state law banning private prisons—including immigration detention centers—is likely unconstitutional. The decision is a significant blow to...

August 2, 2022

For almost two decades, asylum seekers taken into Border Patrol custody who passed a “credible fear” interview have been eligible to seek release from detention on bond while they go through the...

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