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

Publication Date: 
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.
Publication Date: 
October 21, 2020
Sanctuary policies do not conceal or shelter unauthorized immigrants from detection. Here's what you need to know about these policies.
Publication Date: 
July 1, 2019
To better understand the changing interior enforcement trends under the Trump administration, this report analyzes individual-level data on immigration enforcement outcomes.
Publication Date: 
August 16, 2018
This report presents findings from the first empirical analysis of asylum adjudication in family detention. Drawing on government data from over 18,000 immigration court proceedings initiated between...
Publication Date: 
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...
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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.
Publication Date: 
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...

Publication Date: 
March 21, 2017
This fact sheet explains detainers, how they are used by federal and local enforcement, and the impact they have on immigrants.
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February 27, 2017
The provisions in the order pose serious concerns for the protection and due process rights of those currently residing in the United States, communities along the U.S-Mexico border, and vulnerable...
Publication Date: 
December 21, 2016
Too often, some or all of a detainee’s belongings are lost, destroyed, or stolen by the immigration-enforcement agents entrusted with their care.
This FOIA lawsuit seeks to compel DHS and ICE to disclose the weekly reports ICE was required to produce about their enforcement activities and removals pursuant to the DHS’ January 20 and February 18 memos establishing new immigration enforcement priorities.
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.
Publication Date: 
August 23, 2021
This amicus brief urges the Supreme Court to stop the reinstatement of the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), and halt the lower court's poorly reasoned and factually flawed decision.
Publication Date: 
August 18, 2021
This brief highlights the court's many factual errors about MPP in its decision to reinstate the program.

What is CBP One and why is it concerning?

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) launched a new app that can be downloaded on mobile devices called CBP One. According to the agency, CBP One...

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.
October 6, 2023

Corruption within U.S. Custom and Border Protection’s workforce often has been hidden behind bureaucratic red tape. But what was once shrouded in mystery is now plainly available—on CBP’s own...

September 28, 2023

A recent Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision bars certain recently arrived noncitizens from becoming lawful permanent residents. In Matter of Cabrera-Fernandez, the BIA held that the...

September 21, 2023

Co-Authors: Emily Creighton and Tsion Gurmu In the summer of 2020, after George Floyd’s murder, racial justice protests took hold in cities throughout the country. The massive mobilization...

September 14, 2023

Since President Biden took office, Texas Governor Greg Abbott has been escalating both rhetoric and action in response to a rise in migration across the Rio Grande. Right now, challenges to his...

September 8, 2023

“There should be no private prisons, period, none, period. And we are working to close all of them.” Those are the words of President Joe Biden in April 2021, when he was called out by immigrant...

August 17, 2023

On Thanksgiving Day 2017, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers arrested Kamyar Samimi—a lawful permanent resident with a decade-old conviction for drug possession—and sent him...

August 10, 2023

On April 8, a family came to the San Ysidro port of entry in Tijuana and asked to be let into the United States to seek asylum. The husband’s arm was bleeding. He’d been shot. The cartel that had...

August 9, 2023

The Biden administration has officially reinstated its enforcement guidelines for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The move comes after the Supreme Court reaffirmed the federal...

July 28, 2023

On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that the Biden administration’s asylum transit ban was illegal and should be vacated. The ruling isn’t in effect yet – it was delayed for 14 days and may be...

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.
November 29, 2022
In response to the Supreme Court of the United States hearing oral arguments in the case, U.S. v. Texas -- a dispute over the Biden Administration’s authority to set immigration policy, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the American Immigration Council (AIC) have issued the following statement.
November 15, 2022
Judge Emmet G. Sullivan issued a decision vacating and ending Title 42, more than two and a half years after the purported public health policy went into effect.
October 13, 2022
The American Immigration Council alongside responded to the Biden Administration’s announcement of a parole program to protect some Venezuelan nationals with ties to the U.S., expansion of Title 42 to expel Venezuelans who cross the border without prior authorization, and nearly 65,000 added visas under the H-2B program.
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.
October 4, 2022
The data interactive, “The Changing Demographics of the Electorate at a State Level,” highlights the changes in the demographics of eligible voters in every state now compared to 2016, broken down by gender, age, and ethnicity.
September 30, 2022
The warden of a privately run detention facility in West Texas Center—which very recently held detained individuals for U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement—was arrested and charged with manslaughter for shooting two migrants, killing one, in Sierra Blanca, Texas
July 11, 2022
New research on released today by the American Immigration Council–in partnership with the Texas Association of Business and the Texas Business Leadership Council–underscores the crucial role immigrants in Texas play in some of the state’s fastest growing and most in demand fields.
June 30, 2022
The U.S. Supreme Court allows the Biden administration’s efforts to terminate the Migrant Protection Protocols—an illegal Trump-era policy that sent thousands of people seeking humanitarian protection to dangerous areas of Mexico to await their asylum hearings.
March 25, 2022
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it will close or scale back four detention facilities over concerns about conditions at those centers.
These Freedom of Information Act requests seek to uncover information about the FERM program, which places families enrolled on a fast track to deportations if they don’t pass credible fear interviews.
Last modified: 
November 21, 2023
Publication Date: 
November 21, 2023
The American Immigration Council and nearly 90 legal service provider organizations sent a letter to ICE Acting Director Patrick Lechleitner highlighting the obstacles to attorney access that exist...
October 17, 2023
The American Immigration Council and the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies (CGRS) have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit to compel the Biden administration to release information on its new policy of turning back people who request asylum without first obtaining an appointment via the government’s CBP One smartphone app.
Last modified: 
September 20, 2023
Publication Date: 
September 20, 2023
The American Immigration Council appeared before Congress to address the economic contributions of immigrants in the U.S. and the American economic system.
Protestors raise their hands in solidarity outside of the Fifth Police Precinct in Minneapolis in response to the death of George Floyd
Our new, joint report shows that CBP often got involved in policing protests without being asked by city or state officials, and that its actions went beyond its supposed mandate to protect federal property.
September 19, 2023

The American Immigration Council joined 45 other organizations in calling on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and U.S. Citizenship and...

Last modified: 
September 7, 2023
Publication Date: 
September 7, 2023
The Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association comment on DHS's Interim Final Rule on its plan to electronically serve bond-related notifications to obligors to release immigration...
Last modified: 
August 22, 2023
Publication Date: 
August 22, 2023
This practice advisory looks into the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court issued in Pugin v. Garland, 143 S. Ct. 1833 (2023). This immigration decision addressed the generic definition of the obstruction of justice aggravated felony ground at 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(43)(S).
August 10, 2023
El miércoles, un grupo de solicitantes de asilo presentó una petición para bloquear la política ilegal de la administración Biden de rechazar a las personas que buscan asilo en los puertos de entrada a lo largo de la frontera con Estados Unidos.
August 10, 2023
On Wednesday a group of asylum seekers moved to block the Biden administration’s unlawful policy of turning back people seeking asylum at ports of entry along the southern border.

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