Detention

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 Detention Content

Publication Date: 
August 31, 2016
This report examines what happens when “family detention” does not actually keep loved ones together and profiles the experiences of five asylum-seeking families who are divided by detention.
Publication Date: 
August 18, 2016
This report reveals that individuals are frequently held for days and sometimes even months in holding cells in Border Patrol sectors along the U.S.’ southwest border.
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 FOIA suit seeks to compel ICE to release information about conditions, treatment, and outcomes in eight immigration detention facilities in the U.S. South.
Publication Date: 
September 10, 2021
In the amicus brief filed with the Supreme Court of Michigan, the Council and partners reject Calhoun County's position to withhold records that otherwise would be released under the Michigan state FOIA.
This FOIA requests effort seeks records on ICE reports about its enforcement activities, whether the people arrested by ICE fit into the DHS’s enforcement priorities, and information about instances when officers pursued enforcement actions against individuals who would not be considered priorities for immigration enforcement.
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.
Publication Date: 
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.
Publication Date: 
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.
Publication Date: 
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.
July 21, 2023

“I never thought I’d say there’s anything worse than ICE custody, but this is it.” That’s an immigration attorney in San Diego talking to CNN about the shelter facilities run by U.S. Customs and...

July 14, 2023

“If I spoke too loudly, solitary. If I climbed on top of a table to get a guard’s attention, solitary. If I had suicidal thoughts, solitary. When the guards would tease me about being deported...

June 15, 2023

Florida officials think the federal government must detain everyone – or virtually everyone – who arrives at the U.S.-Mexico border without a visa. And it is using the courts to try to make that...

June 9, 2023

An internal investigation into the death of a medically vulnerable eight-year-old girl after over a week in Border Patrol custody continues to reveal shocking negligence on the part of medical...

April 26, 2023

Last week, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the launch of CeBONDS, a new system people can use to pay bonds and secure the release of individuals in immigration detention....

April 13, 2023

On April 6, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced the death of 61 year-old Salvador Vargas at the Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, GA which occurred on April 4. Deaths in ICE...

March 10, 2023

State governments are leading the way on eliminating a blemish from their communities—immigration detention centers. As some state governments begin their legislative sessions, bills attempting to...

March 8, 2023

Written by Atenas Burrola, Pro Bono Manager and Crystal Massey, National Pro Bono Coordinator for the Afghan Project at the American Immigration Council The Biden administration is reportedly...

March 7, 2023

The Biden administration is reportedly planning to detain large numbers of immigrant families again this spring. This is part of the administration’s plan to replace Title 42 with a new policy...

February 17, 2023

In December 2022, the Supreme Court stepped in to keep Title 42 (the pandemic health policy that has allowed the United States to carry out over 2.5 million expulsions since March 2020) in effect...

August 19, 2021
A Texas judge blocked the Biden administration’s immigration enforcement priorities. The decision was issued in a case challenging ICE’s enforcement activities outside the scope laid out in the Feb. 18 enforcement memo.
August 17, 2021
As the Biden administration begins crafting next year's budget, 131 organizations published a statement for the Biden administration outlining the top immigration priorities that must be included in the country’s budget for Fiscal Year 2023.
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.
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.
Last modified: 
July 12, 2023
Publication Date: 
July 13, 2023
The American Immigration Council and partners filed an administrative complaint with the with the Department of Homeland Security's oversight bodies urging immediate investigation into the misuse of...
Last modified: 
June 1, 2023
Publication Date: 
June 1, 2023
The American Immigration Council urged ICE to preserve the option of in-person bond payments and raised concerns about the web-based system Cash Electronic Bonds Online (CeBONDS).
Last modified: 
May 3, 2023
Publication Date: 
May 3, 2023
America needs durable solutions. These concrete measures can bring orderliness to our border and modernize our overwhelmed asylum system.
This Lawsuit seeks to compel ICE to comply with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and publish bond processing procedures that must be followed to obtain the release of individuals in detention.
Last modified: 
January 30, 2023
Publication Date: 
August 27, 2021
The Council submitted an amicus brief explaining why ICE should release usable immigration data. The amicus brief was filed in a case where the ACLU is seeking information about how individuals are impacted by ICE enforcement practices.
January 5, 2023
The American Immigration Council responds to new announced a series of border policy reforms, including a variant of President Trump's asylum "Transit Ban", from the Biden administration.
Last modified: 
December 13, 2022
Publication Date: 
December 13, 2022
Our comprehensive guide on obtaining detention records provides a brief overview of FOIA requirements, information about the types of records government agencies possess, tips about how to request those records, and an overview of what to expect after submitting the request.
December 8, 2022
The Council alongside other advocates has filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to compel U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to publish on its website guidelines and procedures explaining how the agency processes bonds for the release of individuals in detention.
October 13, 2022
Several legal services organizations filed a lawsuit today against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for unlawfully preventing attorneys from communicating with immigrants detained in four detention facilities in Florida, Louisiana, Texas, and Arizona.
This lawsuit challenges ICE's policies that have made it extremely difficult—and in many cases impossible—for people in immigration detention to access their attorneys.

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