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 Enforcement Content

March 16, 2021
This fact sheet provides an overview of “aggravated felonies” under federal immigration law and the immigration consequences of being convicted of an “aggravated felony.”
February 26, 2021
This fact sheet draws from original data gathered from hundreds of community-organizations around the country and provides a snapshot of the extent of available services that help migrants navigate...
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.
October 21, 2020
Sanctuary policies do not conceal or shelter unauthorized immigrants from detection. Here's what you need to know about these policies.
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.
July 17, 2019
The Institutional Hearing Program permits immigration judges to conduct removal proceedings for noncitizens serving criminal sentences in certain correctional facilities.
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.
October 22, 2020
The brief argues that DHS’ service practices for MPP tear sheets deny respondents their statutory right to notice of the time and place of their removal proceedings, their statutory right to a full and fair hearing, and, consequently, due process of law.
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.
September 15, 2020
This new rule will increase the total number of people who are required to submit biometric data from 3.9 million currently to 6.07 million—an increase of more than 60%.
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.
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.
July 11, 2019
These template materials will assist attorneys representing individuals with final removal orders issued by the Executive Office for Immigration Review.
February 27, 2019
This Practice Advisory provides legal and procedural arguments and strategies for attorneys representing noncitizens.
August 1, 2017
This Practice Advisory provides a general overview of motions to suppress, a tool used to prevent the introduction of evidence obtained by federal immigration officers in violation of the Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, and related provisions of federal law.
August 1, 2017
This Practice Advisory discusses some of the legal issues that may arise when noncitizens in removal proceedings move to suppress evidence obtained through constitutional violations by state and local officers seeking to enforce immigration law.
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.
March 18, 2015
This Practice Advisory, updated following the issuance of Secretary Johnson’s November 20, 2014 memorandum on Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants, explains what prosecutorial discretion is, who has authority to exercise it, and how it is exercised most often in immigration cases. It also suggests ways that attorneys can influence the favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion by ICE, CBP and USCIS officers.
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.
November 20, 2013

This Practice Advisory discusses the "departure bar" to motions to reopen and arguments adopted by circuit courts that have rejected or upheld the bar.

June 1, 2008

This Practice Advisory offers a short introduction to habeas corpus, addressing when and how a petitioner may file a petition for writ of habeas corpus in the immigration context.

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 6, 2021

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers—which often suffer from cramped conditions and poor access to medical care—are highly conducive to the spread of COVID-19. But ICE...

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 26, 2021

After almost two years in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, Martin Vargas Arellano was released to a hospital on March 5. ICE did not notify his family or attorney. Three...

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...

March 9, 2021

The Biden administration announced new “enforcement priorities” for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) on February 18. The priorities were an initial step away from the Trump administration...

March 9, 2021

Since 2013, the government has struggled to respond to increasing numbers of unaccompanied children arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border. After disastrous Trump administration policies left...

March 5, 2021

The U.S. Supreme Court published a new decision on March 4 that will make it harder—if not impossible—for many longtime immigrants to fight deportation. The case, Pereida v. Wilkson, abandons...

March 2, 2021

The U.S. government has long relied on a punitive and outdated detention system to keep immigrants in its custody. Even when U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) places people on...

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 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 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.
September 28, 2019
A federal court has blocked a Trump administration policy that sought to massively expand fast-track deportations without a fair legal process such as a court hearing or access to an attorney. The American Immigration Council, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP sought the preliminary injunction, which was granted close to midnight on Friday by U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
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.
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 6, 2021

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers—which often suffer from cramped conditions and poor access to medical care—are highly conducive to the spread of COVID-19. But ICE...

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...

April 2, 2021
The American Immigration Council joined other organizations in calling on the Biden administration to phase-out immigration detention, beginning with the closure of ten specific facilities.
March 29, 2021
The American Immigration Council joined over 150 other organizations in urging the Biden administration to prioritize the implementation of a file review process, initiated by ICE, to reconsider the...
March 26, 2021

After almost two years in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody, Martin Vargas Arellano was released to a hospital on March 5. ICE did not notify his family or attorney. Three...

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 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.
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...

March 16, 2021
This fact sheet provides an overview of “aggravated felonies” under federal immigration law and the immigration consequences of being convicted of an “aggravated felony.”

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