Border 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 Border Enforcement Content

December 4, 2019
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.
September 6, 2019
The fact is that building a fortified and impenetrable wall between the United States and Mexico is unnecessary, complicated, ineffective, expensive, and would create a host of additional problems.
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.
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...
September 19, 2017
Mexican migrants suffer a host of violations, abuses, and ill treatment while in the custody of U.S. immigration authorities.
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...

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...
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 lawsuit seeks to uncover information about the government’s troubling new practice of employing U.S. Custom and Border Protection officers to screen asylum seekers.
The Council is seeking monetary damages on behalf of six asylum-seeking mothers and their children for the trauma they suffered when torn apart under the Trump Administration’s family separation policy.
The Trump administration wants to increase its power to deport immigrants without a fair day in court through expedited removal. We’re suing.
February 6, 2019
The Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP)—also commonly known as the "Remain in Mexico" policy—will put asylum seekers at grave risk of harm by forcing them to remain in Mexico pending their request for protection. Due to these concerns, immigration advocates submitted a letter to the government with first-hand testimonies of ten families attesting to the violence and harm–including rape, beatings, kidnappings, and ransom–they faced on the Mexican side of our southern border.
August 23, 2018

The Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy led to not only to the forcible separation of thousands of children from their parents, but the extreme duress and coercion of...

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.
July 31, 2018
The American Immigration Council submitted a written statement to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary for a July 31, 2018 hearing on “Oversight of Immigration Enforcement and Family Reunification Efforts.”
The American Immigration Council filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request with ICE and CBP on October 13, 2017, seeking data on enforcement actions and outcomes since January 2016. With this data, the Council will be able to assess who is being targeted for removal and what the consequences are of the current enforcement framework.
This lawsuit seeks to compel government agencies to produce documents regarding family separation policies.
In the year and a half since the FOIA request was filed, CBP largely failed to provide any records in response to the request. On June 11, 2018, the Council, represented by O’Melveny & Myers LLP, filed a lawsuit to compel DHS and CBP to comply with FOIA and to release additional records related to the 2016 request.
May 23, 2019
This practice advisory provides an overview of the reinstatement statute and implementing regulations, including how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issues and executes reinstatement orders.
August 20, 2018
This practice advisory provides an overview of the Supreme Court’s decision in Bivens, the benefits and risks of bringing a Bivens claim, and practical and legal information about filing a Bivens claim in federal court.
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.
February 21, 2017
This Practice Advisory addresses the coming expansion of expedited removal.
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.
October 22, 2015
This Practice Advisory focuses on the meaning of “admission” in four very specific, but frequently encountered situations: a “wave-through” at a port of entry; and entry based on misrepresentation; an entry based on a false claim to U.S. citizenship; and the grant of TPS as an admission for purposes of adjustment of status.
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.
December 5, 2019

Attorney General Sessions’ orders to prioritize prosecuting people for immigration-related offenses in 2017 and 2018 put a significant strain on law enforcement across the border, diverting...

December 4, 2019

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—the agency responsible for systematically separating thousands of migrant families in the summer of 2018—lacked the technology or mechanisms to record and...

November 25, 2019

Over the last decade, the remains of more than 1,600 people have been found in the Arizona desert. Groups like No More Deaths, whose mission is “ending death and suffering in the U.S.-Mexico...

November 20, 2019

In yet another major blow to America’s asylum system, on Wednesday the Trump administration reportedly began sending some asylum seekers from Honduras and El Salvador to Guatemala rather than...

November 19, 2019

The Trump administration is preparing to seize private land in Texas to continue construction of the president’s long-promised border wall. According to government officials familiar with the...

November 18, 2019

Nearly 60,000 people seeking asylum in the United States have been returned to Mexico to wait for their U.S. court hearings under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the Remain...

November 15, 2019

A federal court ruled this week that sweeping policies permitting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to search personal cell phones,...

November 6, 2019

It’s been nearly a year since the Trump administration announced the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), or the “Remain in Mexico” program. This program forces vulnerable asylum seekers to return...

October 28, 2019

The Trump administration began a secretive new asylum process in El Paso, Texas that came to light late last week. It seeks to deter asylum seekers from coming to the United States and to remove...

October 24, 2019

Federal immigration officials are beginning to expand their use of surveillance technology to collect information on immigrants. As officials gather more tools in their arsenal—from DNA collection...

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 24, 2019
Media reports today indicate that the government has initiated a new pilot program in El Paso, Texas to rush the review of sensitive asylum cases. The reported program, called “Prompt Asylum Case Review,” forces families to navigate the asylum process while detained in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
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 26, 2019
Immigrant rights attorneys moved to block the Trump administration’s Asylum Ban from affecting tens of thousands of migrants who have already attempted to access the U.S. asylum process before the ban was implemented. With limited exceptions, the Asylum Ban prohibits anyone who traveled through a third country and did not seek protection there from obtaining asylum here. The request filed today is in the ongoing case challenging the Trump administration’s policy of turning back asylum seekers at ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border, including the “metering” policy.
September 19, 2019
Five asylum-seeking mothers and their children who were torn apart under the Trump administration’s family separation policy filed a lawsuit against the United States for the cruel treatment and agony U.S. immigration agencies inflicted on them. The five parents and their children, who were as young as five at the time of the separation, claim that the U.S. government intentionally subjected them to extraordinary trauma that will have lifelong implications.
July 30, 2019
A federal district court has rejected the government’s second attempt to dismiss a lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's unlawful turnbacks of asylum seekers who present themselves at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border – including its attempt to choke off asylum applications through a so-called “metering” process.
July 22, 2019
Expanding expedited removal in this manner will create a 'show me your papers' regime of immigration enforcement where individuals—including any U.S. citizens they encounter—will be forced to prove they should not be deported. The American Immigration Council will not stand by idly as the Trump administration continues its unlawful attacks on our communities. We will see the Trump administration in court
July 15, 2019
The Trump administration announced a new rule that would bar many individuals seeking protection in the United States from being able to apply for asylum. The American Immigration Council believes we should not be afraid to embrace our humanitarian obligations in a way that respects the rule of law.
June 22, 2019
Newly obtained documents from the Department of Health and Human Services released today by immigrant rights groups and The Houston Chronicle show that migrant children continued to be separated from their parents at the border nearly one year after the end of the “zero tolerance” policy.
April 29, 2019
Newly released government records reveal that the Department of Homeland Security monitored protest preparations across the United States and internationally in June 2018, as communities organized to oppose the Trump administration’s separation of children and parents at the southern border. The discovery follows other recent revelations that the government has been secretly monitoring activists, journalists, and immigrant rights defenders.
December 5, 2019

Attorney General Sessions’ orders to prioritize prosecuting people for immigration-related offenses in 2017 and 2018 put a significant strain on law enforcement across the border, diverting...

December 4, 2019

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)—the agency responsible for systematically separating thousands of migrant families in the summer of 2018—lacked the technology or mechanisms to record and...

December 4, 2019
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-...
November 25, 2019

Over the last decade, the remains of more than 1,600 people have been found in the Arizona desert. Groups like No More Deaths, whose mission is “ending death and suffering in the U.S.-Mexico...

November 20, 2019

In yet another major blow to America’s asylum system, on Wednesday the Trump administration reportedly began sending some asylum seekers from Honduras and El Salvador to Guatemala rather than...

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.
November 19, 2019

The Trump administration is preparing to seize private land in Texas to continue construction of the president’s long-promised border wall. According to government officials familiar with the...

November 18, 2019

Nearly 60,000 people seeking asylum in the United States have been returned to Mexico to wait for their U.S. court hearings under the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), also known as the Remain...

November 15, 2019

A federal court ruled this week that sweeping policies permitting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to search personal cell phones,...

November 6, 2019

It’s been nearly a year since the Trump administration announced the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), or the “Remain in Mexico” program. This program forces vulnerable asylum seekers to return...

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