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: 
April 11, 2012
Discretion takes many forms throughout the immigration enforcement process. Every removal of a noncitizen from the United States, for example, reflects a series of complex choices which reflect...
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April 1, 2012
Proportionality is the notion that the severity of a sanction should not be excessive in relation to the gravity of an offense. The principle is ancient and nearly uncontestable, and its operation...
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February 23, 2012
As federal officers, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents may only exercise the authority granted under federal statutes and regulations. This fact sheet provides a snapshot of search, interrogation...
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February 16, 2012
What You Need to Know if Your State is Considering Anti-immigrant Legislation...
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February 6, 2012
By Michele Waslin The day that Alabama’s draconian anti-immigrant law...
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November 29, 2011
This paper describes the Secure Communities program, identifies concerns about the program’s design and implementation, and makes recommendations for the future of the program.
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November 9, 2011
Although key provisions of Alabama’s HB 56 are on hold while its constitutionality is being tested in the courts, evidence is mounting of the growing fiscal and economic impact of the new law. State...
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November 8, 2011
(Updated November 2011) - Arizona’s infamous anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, has spawned many imitators. In a growing number of state houses around the country, bills have been passed or...
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November 1, 2011
Turning Off the Water: How the Contracting and Transaction...
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October 19, 2011
Many political pundits, GOP presidential aspirants, and Members of Congress want to have it both ways when it comes to federal spending on immigration. On the one hand, there is much talk about the...
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January 21, 2014
The American Immigration Council and National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG) are seeking to preserve federal court review of damages actions brought by noncitizens for abuse of authority by immigration agents.
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January 3, 2014
Long used in criminal trials, motions to suppress can lead to the exclusion of evidence obtained by the government in violation of the Fourth Amendment, Fifth Amendment, or related provisions of federal law. While the immediate purpose of filing a motion to suppress is to prevent the government from meeting its burden of proof, challenges to unlawfully obtained evidence can also deter future violations by law enforcement officers and thereby protect the rights of other noncitizens. The Supreme Court held in INS v. Lopez-Mendoza, 468 U.S. 1032 (1984), that motions to suppress evidence under the Fourth Amendment in immigration proceedings should be granted only for “egregious” violations or if violations became “widespread.” Despite this stringent standard, noncitizens have prevailed in many cases on motions to suppress.
In March 2013, the American Immigration Council and Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, later joined by the Legal Aid Justice Center, filed a lawsuit alleging that CBP officers at Dulles Airport in Virginia unlawfully detained a U.S. citizen child for more than twenty hours, deprived her of contact with her parents, and then effectively deported her to Guatemala. The case was one of ten complaints filed the same week to highlight CBP abuses along the northern and southern borders.
In June 2012, the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, filed suit against DHS and CBP for unlawfully withholding records concerning voluntary returns of noncitizens from the United States to their countries of origin. Voluntary return, also known as “administrative voluntary departure,” is a procedure whereby CBP officers permit noncitizens to voluntarily depart the United States at their own expense rather than undergoing formal removal proceedings. Noncitizens may be granted voluntary return to their countries of origin after conceding unlawful presence in the United States and knowingly and voluntarily waiving the right to contest removal.
Co-Plaintiffs American Immigration Council and AILA’s Connecticut chapter initially sought records related to the Criminal Alien Program (CAP) through a FOIA request to ICE in December 2011. When ICE refused to release responsive records, Plaintiffs filed suit under FOIA to compel their disclosure.
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.

Advocates in states along the northern border of the United States have reported that Border Patrol agents frequently “assist” other law enforcement agencies by serving...

Based on reports from immigration advocates, CBP officers do not always provide noncitizens with information regarding the consequences of accepting voluntary return...

American Immigration Council and AILA’s Connecticut chapter initially sought records related to CAP through a FOIA request to ICE in December 2011. When ICE refused to release records responsive to the request, Plaintiffs filed suit under FOIA for declaratory and injunctive relief to compel the disclosure and release of agency records improperly withheld by DHS and its component ICE

Recommendations that DHS promulgate new regulations that ensure more effective oversight over the issuance of detainers and better protection for those subject to detainers.

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...

February 10, 2023

In January, Republicans took control of the House of Representatives. After a lengthy fight over the Speaker of the House resolved, the new majority wasted no time in holding multiple hearings on...

February 10, 2023

Nearly 1,000 children separated from their families at the southern border by the Trump administration remain separated to this day, according to a Biden administration fact sheet released on...

February 8, 2023

When asylum seekers arrive in the United States, so long as they are not rapidly deported or expelled, the government is generally supposed to issue them a “Notice to Appear” (NTA). This charging...

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...

January 31, 2023

On January 26, the Second Circuit ruled against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in a case that has broad implications for the public’s access to data held in immigration agency...

January 13, 2023

On January 5, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced new measures to process people seeking asylum at ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border who are asking to be exempt from...

January 12, 2023

Weeks after Title 42 was ordered to end in December 2022, the supposed “public health” policy is still effectively closing the border to many asylum seekers after an eleventh-hour order from the...

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....

July 19, 2016
A class action lawsuit was filed by three immigration attorneys and eleven noncitizens challenging U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s nationwide practice of failing to timely respond to requests for case information under the Freedom of Information Act.
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.
July 6, 2016
he American Immigration Council (Immigration Council), represented by Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP, today filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act to compel the release of additional documents related to the complaints process at United States Customs and Border Protection.
June 27, 2016
A federal district court unsealed some of the photographs central to ongoing litigation challenging deplorable and unconstitutional conditions in Border Patrol detention facilities in the agency’s Tucson Sector. The court also allowed the Arizona Republic newspaper to intervene in the case to argue for the release of the documents.
June 4, 2016
Last week an alliance of immigration advocacy groups represented by the Legal Action Center filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
May 25, 2016

Washington, D.C. - Following a meeting to discuss comprehensive immigration reform with Senate Republicans, President Obama announced that he would send 1,200 Nati

May 14, 2016

Washington D.C. - Yesterday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced efforts to “enhance oversight” to help ensure that families are detained in “safe and humane facilities” and

March 13, 2016

Washington, D.C. – Over the past week, an alliance of immigration groups, private attorneys and a law school clinic joined forces in filing complaints targeting abuses by U.S.

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
These Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests seek records from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) about treatment of Haitian immigrants.
Last modified: 
August 9, 2022
Publication Date: 
August 9, 2022
This fact sheet provides an explanation on how noncitizens may find themselves facing deportation from the country, how the removal proceeding may look, what types of relief can be sought after a...
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.
Last modified: 
July 19, 2022
Publication Date: 
July 19, 2022
The American Immigration Council joined over 156 organizations urging the Department of Homeland Security to protect the right to abortion after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision reversing the right...
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July 15, 2022
Publication Date: 
July 15, 2022
The American Immigration Council opposed the inclusion of a legislative provision that would codify into law an indefinite extension of the controversial and harmful Title 42 policy.
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.
Last modified: 
June 30, 2022
Publication Date: 
June 30, 2022
The American Immigration Council and 102 other organizations urge the Department of Homeland Security paroled into the United States and give assistance in applying for protection to survivors of the...
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.

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