Detention

The U.S. immigration system is complex and can be difficult to understand. These resources provide key data points, historical information, and background on hot topics in immigration. Learn the basics about immigration.

Recent Features

All Detention Content

May 9, 2017
Detained asylum seekers encounter numerous challenges, including the following problems detailed in this report.
March 28, 2017
Deportations of parents and family members have serious consequences that affect children and extend to communities and the country as a whole.
August 31, 2016
This report examines what happens when “family detention” does not actually keep loved ones together and profiles the experiences of five asylum-seeking families who are divided by detention.
August 18, 2016
This report reveals that individuals are frequently held for days and sometimes even months in holding cells in Border Patrol sectors along the U.S.’ southwest border.
December 17, 2015
These accounts reveal the markedly dehumanizing conditions to which these women were subjected while in Border Patrol custody.
July 22, 2015

For decades, the U.S. refugee protection system has been a symbol of the nation’s generosity and openness to the world’s persecuted. Yet since Congress’ enactment of the Illegal Immigration Reform...

June 10, 2015

Each year, the Border Patrol, a division of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), holds hundreds of thousands of people in detention facilities near the southern border that are...

October 6, 2011
One of the ugliest myths in the immigration debate is that immigrants are more likely to commit crime or pose a danger to society. Although studies repeatedly have shown that immigrants are less...
July 6, 2011
One of the ugliest myths in the immigration debate involves the relationship between immigrants and crime. While studies repeatedly have shown that immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than...
October 1, 2004
Over a thousand noncitizens face indefinite detention in the United States on the basis of a meaningless legal technicality.
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.
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.
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.

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

Reducing Regulatory Burden; Retrospective Review Under Executive Order 13563, 76 Fed. Reg. 13526 (Mar. 14, 2011)
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.

May 24, 2017

President Trump released his formal budget request to Congress for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 this week, which seeks to solidify the harsh proposals laid out in his immigration executive orders.  The...

May 8, 2017

After threats of a government shutdown echoed throughout Capitol Hill in early May, Congress finally passed a bill to fund the government through the remainder of the Fiscal Year. Though much of...

May 5, 2017

What can the first 100 days of the Trump administration tell us about how immigration will be handled in the next 100 days and beyond? Since his inauguration, President Trump has prioritized...

April 4, 2017

Public and private prisons previously crumbling under financial strains, reduced population numbers, and Obama-era regulations are receiving a boost under the Trump administration, thanks in large...

March 17, 2017

President Trump released a preview of his Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget request this week, as well as a request for supplemental funds for this current year (FY 2017). These proposals would begin...

February 27, 2017

The executive orders on immigration enforcement, both along the border and in the interior of the U.S., call for a significant increase in immigration detention. This means more noncitizens in...

January 20, 2017

Eight years ago, President Barack Obama entered the White House on a promise to reform America’s immigration system. His urgency ultimately dissipated and reforming America’s immigration system...

December 6, 2016

A Texas judge issued a final judgment last Friday prohibiting the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) from issuing a childcare license to the nation’s largest family...

December 1, 2016

The Supreme Court heard arguments this week in what may be the most important immigration case on its docket this fall, Jennings v. Rodriguez. The case, which began as a class action filed in...

November 2, 2016

Almost one year ago, on November 16, 2015, 29 Central American women and their 35 minor children, represented by the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project, sought federal court review of the legality of...

November 18, 2016
A federal district court found that U.S. Customs and Border Protection is violating the constitutional rights of people detained in holding facilities in Arizona and ordered the government to take steps to improve conditions in these facilities, known as hieleras.
August 18, 2016
Today, groups made public damning evidence, including expert testimony and video stills illustrating the deplorable and unconstitutional conditions detained individuals are subjected to in Border Patrol custody in the agency’s Tucson Sector.
July 20, 2016
Ten mothers came forward to lodge formal complaints about the substandard medical care they and their children received while detained by the Department of Homeland of Security.
July 20, 2016
Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson released a statement on plans to make “substantial changes” to the agency’s family detention policies. The following is a statement, in response, from Ben Johnson, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council.
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.
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.
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

January 28, 2016

DILLEY, Texas  Seven women picked up and detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement in early January in widely publicized raids have made a direct and personal plea to Pre

January 13, 2016

Washington D.C.—On Monday, a federal district court permitted a class action lawsuit challenging harmful and unconstitutional conditions of confinement by Customs and Border Protection (CBP)

October 23, 2015

Washington, D.C.–Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC), the American Immigration Council, Refugee andImmigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), and the American Immigr

May 24, 2017

President Trump released his formal budget request to Congress for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 this week, which seeks to solidify the harsh proposals laid out in his immigration executive orders.  The...

May 9, 2017
Detained asylum seekers encounter numerous challenges, including the following problems detailed in this report.
May 8, 2017

After threats of a government shutdown echoed throughout Capitol Hill in early May, Congress finally passed a bill to fund the government through the remainder of the Fiscal Year. Though much of...

May 5, 2017

What can the first 100 days of the Trump administration tell us about how immigration will be handled in the next 100 days and beyond? Since his inauguration, President Trump has prioritized...

April 4, 2017

Public and private prisons previously crumbling under financial strains, reduced population numbers, and Obama-era regulations are receiving a boost under the Trump administration, thanks in large...

March 28, 2017
Deportations of parents and family members have serious consequences that affect children and extend to communities and the country as a whole.
March 17, 2017

President Trump released a preview of his Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget request this week, as well as a request for supplemental funds for this current year (FY 2017). These proposals would begin...

February 27, 2017

The executive orders on immigration enforcement, both along the border and in the interior of the U.S., call for a significant increase in immigration detention. This means more noncitizens in...

January 20, 2017

Eight years ago, President Barack Obama entered the White House on a promise to reform America’s immigration system. His urgency ultimately dissipated and reforming America’s immigration system...

December 6, 2016

A Texas judge issued a final judgment last Friday prohibiting the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) from issuing a childcare license to the nation’s largest family...

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