Enforcement

While updating our immigration system has been a slow process, over the last decade, there have been efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation and the DREAM Act. Other reform efforts include executive actions such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). Learn more about the ways America can upgrade its immigration system.

Recent Features

All Enforcement Content

Publication Date: 
May 9, 2013
Since the last major legalization program for unauthorized immigrants in 1986, the federal government has spent an estimated $186.8 billion on immigration enforcement. Yet during that time, the...
Publication Date: 
April 2, 2013
Since the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was created in 2003, its immigration-enforcement agencies—Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)—have been...
Publication Date: 
January 8, 2013
With roughly 11 million unauthorized immigrants living in the United States, some question whether the nation’s immigration laws are being seriously enforced. In truth, due to legal and policy...
Publication Date: 
December 12, 2012
The Impact of Immigration Enforcement on Children Caught Up in the Child Welfare System One of the many consequences of an aggressive immigration enforcement system is the separation of children,...
Publication Date: 
September 25, 2012
Advocates along the Northern Border report a recent, sharp increase in the use of U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) agents to provide interpretation services to state and local law enforcement officers and...
Publication Date: 
June 4, 2012
This session, state legislatures are once again considering harsh immigration-control laws. These laws are intended to make everyday life so difficult for unauthorized immigrants that they will...
Publication Date: 
May 23, 2012
The collection of biometrics—including fingerprints, DNA, and face-recognition ready photographs—is becoming more and more a part of society. Both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the...
Publication Date: 
May 1, 2012
The report describes restrictions on access to legal counsel before DHS, provides a legal landscape, and offers recommendations designed to combat DHS’s harmful practices. It also addresses changes...
Publication Date: 
April 30, 2012
How Behavioral Economics Reveals the Fallacies behind “Attrition through Enforcement” By Alexandra Filindra, Ph.D....
Publication Date: 
April 17, 2012
In April, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Arizona v. United States, a case addressing the legality of the Arizona immigration law known as SB 1070. According to the statement...
We filed a FOIA request seeking statistical information, as well as policies and guidance, regarding Board of Immigration Appeals standards for issuing stays of removal. Because the government failed to respond, we're filing a lawsuit.
September 18, 2018

The American Immigration Council and American Immigration Lawyers Association submitted a written statement to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and...

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.
This lawsuit challenges the actions of immigration judges in Charlotte, North Carolina who have refused to conduct bond hearings for people who properly file bond motions with the Charlotte Immigration Court.
Publication Date: 
October 25, 2016
The American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the American Immigration Law Association, filed an amicus brief in the case Jennings v. Rodriguez, calling for the Court to overturn Demore v. Kim and end mandatory detention.
The class-action lawsuit complaint alleges that Tucson Sector Border Patrol holds men, women, and children in freezing, overcrowded, and filthy cells for days at a time in violation of the U.S. Constitution and CBP’s own policies.
In March 2015, the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the Law Office of Stacy Tolchin, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, filed a class action lawsuit against CBP over its nationwide pattern and practice of failing to timely respond to requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The plaintiffs included both immigration attorneys and individuals, all of whom had FOIA requests pending for over 20 business days.
On October 21, 2014, the American Immigration Council, the American Civil Liberties Union, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, with co-counsel, the National Immigration Law Center and Jenner & Block LLP, filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act to compel the release of government documents regarding the use of the expedited removal process against families with children, including those detained by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in Artesia, New Mexico. The suit was filed in the federal district court for the Southern District of New York.
On August 22, 2014, the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, the National Immigration Law Center, Van Der Hout Brigagliano & Nightingale LLP, and Jenner & Block, filed this lawsuit in the federal district court for the District of Columbia. The case was a systemic challenge to the policies denying a fair deportation process to mothers and children detained in the Artesia Family Residential Center who had fled extreme violence, death threats, rape, and persecution in Central America and come to the United States seeking safety.
April 19, 2023

On Monday, April 17, the House GOP introduced its first comprehensive border bill of the 118th Congress. The bill comes after months of disagreement within the caucus surrounding legislative...

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...

April 10, 2023

The Biden administration is yet again turning to the Trump playbook as it tries to slap together a border crackdown to succeed the end of the Title 42 “public health” order next month. The latest...

April 6, 2023

Written by Raul Pinto and Rebekah Wolf of the American Immigration Council The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published the Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA) for U.S. Immigration and...

March 29, 2023

On Monday night, 39 migrants died, and another 27 were seriously injured, in a fire in a Mexican detention center in Ciudad Juarez. The migrants—most of them from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras...

March 24, 2023

Last week, a federal court in California issued a decision allowing asylum seekers and other plaintiffs to continue their legal challenge to the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” program, officially (...

March 17, 2023

In March 2020, the world came to an unfamiliar halt. The COVID-19 pandemic was no longer a looming and distant concern. Events rapidly fell off calendars, schools shuttered, and those who could...

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...

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.
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.
June 28, 2017
A U.S. District Court condemned the federal government for continuing to disregard critical protections for children in detention.
March 10, 2017
Immigrant rights groups asked the Washington District Court to again enjoin the Trump Administration’s “Muslim Ban” executive order.
January 25, 2017
President Trump announced executive orders that are intended to follow through on campaign promises to build a wall and deport millions. Here's our response.
December 22, 2016
This registry, known as the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), was shown to be ineffective and had not been used for years.
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.
April 18, 2023
The American Immigration Council responds to the new Menendez Plan which proposes humane and effective solutions for managing migration at the border.
April 10, 2023
Members of Congress, Faith Leaders, and Pediatricians Join Tens of Thousands of People Demanding Rescission of Biden Asylum Transit Ban.
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.
February 21, 2023
The American Immigration Council responds to the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on the implementation of a new asylum transit ban.
February 7, 2023
The American Immigration Council released new research, The Growing Demand for Healthcare Workers in Utah, which underscores the crucial role immigrants play in some of the state’s fastest growing and most in demand healthcare fields.
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.

Most Read

  • Publications
  • Blog Posts
  • Past:
  • Trending