Enforcement

The immigration laws and regulations provide some avenues to apply for lawful status from within the U.S. or to seek relief from deportation.  The eligibility requirements for these benefits and relief can be stringent, and the immigration agencies often adopt overly restrictive interpretations of the requirements.  Learn about advocacy and litigation that has been and can be undertaken to ensure that noncitizens have a fair chance to apply for the benefits and relief for which they are eligible.  

Recent Features

All Enforcement Content

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-...
October 14, 2019
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.
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.
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.
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...
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...
January 24, 2018
Parole under immigration law is very different than in the criminal justice context. In the immigration context, parole facilitates certain individuals’ entry into and permission to temporarily...
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.
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...

The Migrant Protection Protocols—also known as Remain in Mexico—raises alarming safety and due process questions. However, the government has kept information on how the program is being implemented.
September 25, 2019
This statement shares our knowledge about these problems and inform the Subcommittee of these systemic human rights and due process violations. We hope that our perspective provides insight context for this important hearing.
The Trump administration wants to increase its power to deport immigrants without a fair day in court through expedited removal. We’re suing.
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.
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.
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.

February 20, 2020

A federal court found on Wednesday that U.S. Border Patrol may not detain migrants held in its facilities in Arizona’s Tucson Sector longer than 48 hours without providing for their “basic human...

February 19, 2020

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) plans to destroy thousands of records documenting horrific treatment of immigrants in the agency’s custody. The records contain vital details about...

February 18, 2020

The Trump administration is continuing to wage an escalating war on so-called sanctuary jurisdictions across the country. This is part of an ongoing campaign to coerce state and local governments...

February 14, 2020

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—the largest law enforcement agency within the Department of Homeland Security, with tens of thousands of officers charged with policing our borders—is...

February 13, 2020

A federal judge in Arizona reversed convictions of four volunteers of the humanitarian aid group No More Deaths last week. No More Deaths is an Arizona-based group that works to end death and...

February 10, 2020

The Trump administration is cracking down on New York over its refusal to share residents’ driver’s license records with immigration authorities. Now, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has...

February 5, 2020

President Trump issued the fourth travel ban of his presidency on Friday. This ban comes almost three years to the day after the first one brought thousands of protesters to airports around the...

February 4, 2020

In U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody, asylum seekers are detained in horribly cold and overcrowded facilities, unable to sleep, without access to food, water, or adequate medical...

February 3, 2020

Three years into the Trump administration, it’s become clear that we have lost our rudder. For a nation that long-provided a welcome mat to the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, our...

January 28, 2020

One year ago today, a confused Honduran man seeking asylum in the United States became the first person to be turned away from the border and sent back to Mexico to await a U.S. court hearing. He...

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.
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.
February 20, 2020

A federal court found on Wednesday that U.S. Border Patrol may not detain migrants held in its facilities in Arizona’s Tucson Sector longer than 48 hours without providing for their “basic human...

February 19, 2020

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) plans to destroy thousands of records documenting horrific treatment of immigrants in the agency’s custody. The records contain vital details about...

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.
February 18, 2020

The Trump administration is continuing to wage an escalating war on so-called sanctuary jurisdictions across the country. This is part of an ongoing campaign to coerce state and local governments...

February 14, 2020

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—the largest law enforcement agency within the Department of Homeland Security, with tens of thousands of officers charged with policing our borders—is...

February 13, 2020

A federal judge in Arizona reversed convictions of four volunteers of the humanitarian aid group No More Deaths last week. No More Deaths is an Arizona-based group that works to end death and...

February 10, 2020

The Trump administration is cracking down on New York over its refusal to share residents’ driver’s license records with immigration authorities. Now, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has...

February 5, 2020

President Trump issued the fourth travel ban of his presidency on Friday. This ban comes almost three years to the day after the first one brought thousands of protesters to airports around the...

February 4, 2020

In U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody, asylum seekers are detained in horribly cold and overcrowded facilities, unable to sleep, without access to food, water, or adequate medical...

February 3, 2020

Three years into the Trump administration, it’s become clear that we have lost our rudder. For a nation that long-provided a welcome mat to the huddled masses yearning to breathe free, our...

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