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

March 21, 2017
This fact sheet explains detainers, how they are used by federal and local enforcement, and the impact they have on immigrants.
March 15, 2017
Through the 287(g) program, state and local police officers collaborate with the federal government to enforce federal immigration laws.
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...
February 23, 2017
Contrary to what many believe, so-called “sanctuary” policies do not conceal or shelter unauthorized immigrants from detection. Here's what you need to know about these policies.
February 3, 2017
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.
January 25, 2017
This fact sheet includes changes resulting from the creation of the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) in 2014 and related legal decisions.
January 25, 2017
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.
January 25, 2017
Since the last major overhaul of the U.S. immigration system in 1986, the federal government has spent an estimated $263 billion on immigration enforcement.
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.
December 16, 2016
This fact sheet provides an overview of “aggravated felonies” under federal immigration law and the immigration consequences of being convicted of an “aggravated felony.”
This intervention is needed to protect the integrity of the United States’ immigrant visa process and the families diligently seeking to reunite with their loved ones.
January 13, 2017
A coalition of immigrant and civil rights groups filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties on behalf of numerous adult men and women, families and unaccompanied children who, over the past several months, were denied entry to the United States at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border despite having asserted a fear of returning to their home countries or an intention to seek asylum under U.S. law.
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.
In March 2015, the American Immigration Council, in collaboration with the Law Office of Stacy Tolchin, the Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild, filed a class action lawsuit against CBP over its nationwide pattern and practice of failing to timely respond to requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The plaintiffs included both immigration attorneys and individuals, all of whom had FOIA requests pending for over 20 business days.
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 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.
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.
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.
October 4, 2013
The Council, along with the National Immigration Project of the National Lawyers Guild (NIPNLG), is seeking to preserve federal court review of damages actions brought by noncitizens for abuse of authority by immigration agents. In actions brought under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971), the government routinely moves to dismiss these cases on a variety of jurisdictional grounds, including by arguing that INA § 242(g) bars the court’s review of damages claims in any case involving removal procedures, and that a remedy under Bivens is not available in immigration-related actions. In essence, the government is attempting to deprive those who have been harmed by immigration agents of any remedy in federal court.
February 21, 2017

This Practice Advisory addresses the coming expansion of expedited removal, who likely will be impacted, and possible ways to challenge an expedited removal order. The National Immigration Project...

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.
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 26, 2015
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.
November 13, 2013
This Practice Advisory addresses some of the factual scenarios and legal issues that may arise when seeking to suppress evidence unlawfully obtained at or near the border. This Practice Advisory supplements a prior American Immigration Council Practice Advisory, Motions to Suppress in Removal Proceedings: A General Overview, which has been updated to address certain strategic considerations concerning motions to suppress, including the advisability and timing of filing a concurrent request for prosecutorial discretion or a lawsuit for damages.
August 15, 2013
This Practice Advisory deals primarily with Fourth Amendment limitations on state and local immigration enforcement efforts and also briefly addresses Fifth Amendment violations that may arise from the same types of encounters with state and local officers. It also discusses some of the legal issues that may arise when noncitizens in removal proceedings move to suppress evidence obtained as a result of a constitutional violation by such officers.
April 29, 2013
A person who has been removed and unlawfully reenters the United States may be subject to reinstatement of removal under INA § 241(a)(5). This Practice Advisory provides an overview of the reinstatement statute and implementing regulations. It also addresses where to obtain federal court review of reinstatement orders and which arguments are available to challenge the legality of reinstatement orders in federal court, including challenges to the underlying removal order.
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.

March 23, 2017

The immigration executive order on interior enforcement signed by the President in January instructed the Department of Homeland Security to release a weekly list of jurisdictions that declined...

March 22, 2017

As part of the President’s immigration executive order on Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was directed to hire 5,000 additional...

March 21, 2017

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) heard testimony today about policies that prevent access to the U.S. asylum process for those fleeing grave danger in their home countries. U....

March 20, 2017

A young DACA recipient named Daniela Vargas was detained in Mississippi by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after speaking out earlier this month about her fear of being deported under...

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...

March 16, 2017

The Trump administration has failed in its attempt to rewrite the executive order banning individuals from targeted Muslim-majority nations in order to pass legal muster. On the eve of the new...

March 15, 2017

Buried inside the interior enforcement Executive Order issued by President Trump in January are the Administration’s plans to revive the 287(g) program. This is concerning because the program has...

March 14, 2017

President Trump stated that he has “ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American victims during his Joint Address to congress. The office is called VOICE –...

March 13, 2017

In the week following President Trump’s issuance of a second travel ban targeting six Muslim-majority countries, several states and a number of immigrant rights groups immediately returned to...

March 9, 2017

This week the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expected to issue a formal solicitation notice seeking ideas on how to design and build various types of wall structures along the Southwest...

March 10, 2017
Immigrant rights groups asked the Washington District Court to again enjoin the Trump Administration’s “Muslim Ban” executive order.
February 17, 2017
The memo calls for the expansion of detentions and deportations, the hiring of more Border Patrol agents, the use of State National Guards, the building of a border wall, and the creation of new barriers for asylum seekers, among other provisions.
January 25, 2017
President Trump announced executive orders that are intended to follow through on campaign promises to build a wall and deport millions. Here's our response.
January 17, 2017
A coalition of immigrant and civil rights groups filed a complaint with the Department of Homeland Security’s Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, last Friday and the Office of Inspector General, on behalf of numerous adult men and women, families and unaccompanied children who, over the past several months, were denied entry to the United States at ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border.
December 22, 2016
This registry, known as the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), was shown to be ineffective and had not been used for years.
December 21, 2016
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), represented by the American Immigration Council and Foley & Lardner LLP, filed a lawsuit to compel U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), and to request release of the CBP Officer's Reference Tool (ORT).
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.
November 18, 2016
Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions will be nominated to serve as Attorney General in President-Elect Trump’s new administration. The following is a statement from Beth Werlin, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council.
October 5, 2016
In accordance with a settlement reached by the parties, a federal district court dismissed a class action lawsuit which challenged U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) nationwide practice of failing to timely respond to requests for case information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
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.
March 23, 2017

The immigration executive order on interior enforcement signed by the President in January instructed the Department of Homeland Security to release a weekly list of jurisdictions that declined...

March 22, 2017

As part of the President’s immigration executive order on Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was directed to hire 5,000 additional...

March 21, 2017

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) heard testimony today about policies that prevent access to the U.S. asylum process for those fleeing grave danger in their home countries. U....

March 21, 2017
This fact sheet explains detainers, how they are used by federal and local enforcement, and the impact they have on immigrants.
March 20, 2017

A young DACA recipient named Daniela Vargas was detained in Mississippi by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after speaking out earlier this month about her fear of being deported under...

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...

March 16, 2017

The Trump administration has failed in its attempt to rewrite the executive order banning individuals from targeted Muslim-majority nations in order to pass legal muster. On the eve of the new...

March 15, 2017

Buried inside the interior enforcement Executive Order issued by President Trump in January are the Administration’s plans to revive the 287(g) program. This is concerning because the program has...

March 15, 2017
Through the 287(g) program, state and local police officers collaborate with the federal government to enforce federal immigration laws.
March 14, 2017

President Trump stated that he has “ordered the Department of Homeland Security to create an office to serve American victims during his Joint Address to congress. The office is called VOICE –...

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