Detention

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 Detention Content

July 17, 2019
The Institutional Hearing Program permits immigration judges to conduct removal proceedings for noncitizens serving criminal sentences in certain correctional facilities.
December 5, 2018
This analysis reveals that individuals detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement were commonly held in privately operated and remotely located facilities, far away from basic community...
September 6, 2018
The Legal Orientation Program (LOP) offers legal education, as well as referrals for free and low-cost legal counsel, to noncitizens in immigration detention.
May 23, 2018
Deportations of parents and family members have serious consequences that affect children and extend to communities and the country as a whole.
May 1, 2018
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-...
September 19, 2017
Mexican migrants suffer a host of violations, abuses, and ill treatment while in the custody of U.S. immigration authorities.
May 9, 2017
Detained asylum seekers encounter numerous challenges, including the following problems detailed in this report.
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 dehumanizing conditions to which these women were subjected while in Border Patrol custody.
June 11, 2019
New evidence shows the woefully inadequate medical and mental health care in an immigration detention center in Aurora, Colorado. Here are some of the detainees’ experiences we documented:
April 19, 2019
In this case, the Federal Defenders of San Diego argue that the court should have conducted a deeper inquiry into the voluntariness of a guilty plea offered by 18-year-old Claudia Hernandez-Becerra because she spent three days detained in an “hielera” before her arraignment for entering the United States without permission.
February 28, 2019
Numerous babies under the age of one—and some as young as six months old—are being detained in immigration detention at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas.
January 10, 2019

The American Immigration Council and the Immigrants’ Rights and Human Trafficking Program and Boston University School of Law filed an amicus brief in ACLU v. DHS, a Freedom of Information...

January 7, 2019

The American Immigration Council and the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) submitted a joint comment opposing the “Interim Final Rule: Aliens Subject to a Bar on Entry Under...

November 6, 2018
The Trump administration proposed new regulations undermining the 1997 Flores settlement agreement. If the proposed regulations are finalized, they would weaken protections for children and place them at greater risk of trauma and mistreatment.
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 case challenges the punitive practice of keeping asylum seekers in custody for weeks or months without access to credible fear interviews or bond hearings and the lack of basic procedural protections—like hearing transcripts and written decisions—in bond hearings, as well as whether asylum seekers must bear the burden of proof in bond proceedings.
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...

July 3, 2019
Immigration courts must continue to provide bond hearings to individuals fleeing persecution who enter the United States without inspection, are placed in expedited removal proceedings, and pass their credible fear interviews.
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.
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...

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.

July 19, 2019

Since the mid-1980s, immigration courts have operated the Institutional Hearing Program (IHP). The program is designed to quickly deport people serving criminal sentences. Despite how long it’s...

July 18, 2019

While members of Congress were struggling to reach a bipartisan deal in February in order to end the government shutdown, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) quietly expanded its...

July 3, 2019

Attorney General William Barr announced in April 2019 plans to eliminate bond hearings for immigrants who pass an asylum screening interview after entering the United States. This would have...

June 11, 2019

As the Trump administration ramps up efforts to expand immigration detention in the United States, many detained immigrants continue to suffer behind bars due to woefully inadequate medical and...

June 6, 2019

The Trump administration is cutting funds for educational programs, recreation, and legal services for unaccompanied children who are waiting to be placed with a sponsor in the United States. The...

May 13, 2019

More immigrants facing deportation are requesting “voluntary departure” from the United States instead of fighting their cases in court. Voluntary departure is a process though which certain...

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.
May 2, 2019
The American Immigration Council, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, and The American Civil Liberties Union, filed a proposed amended complaint in federal court today in order to challenge the Trump administration’s new policy that categorically denies bond hearings to asylum seekers. The policy, announced April 16 by Attorney General William Barr, targets asylum seekers whom immigration officers previously determined have a “credible fear” of persecution or torture if returned to the places they fled.
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.
April 5, 2019
In a groundbreaking decision, a federal judge in Seattle dealt a blow to the government’s campaign to deter and obstruct asylum seekers applying for protection in the United States. Judge Marsha Pechman ordered the government to provide certain individuals with bona fide asylum claims either a bond hearing before an immigration judge within seven days of their request or to release them from detention.
December 13, 2018
A federal district court in Seattle, Washington issued an order rejecting the government’s arguments that recent asylum seekers who enter the United States without immigration status are not entitled to constitutional protections.
December 5, 2018
A report on immigration detention examines the United States’ complex, sprawling network of facilities used to detain immigrants. The report, “The Landscape of Immigration Detention in the United States,” reveals that detained individuals were commonly held in facilities operated by private entities and located in remote areas, far away from basic community support structures and legal advocacy networks.
September 21, 2018
Yesterday, plaintiffs in an ongoing lawsuit challenging the U.S. government’s targeted efforts to obstruct asylum seekers filed a motion for preliminary injunction demanding timely bond hearings that comport with due process.
September 6, 2018
The Trump administration proposed new regulations that could lead to the indefinite detention—and needless suffering—of asylum-seeking children.
August 23, 2018
The complaint points to numerous examples, including that of Mrs. D.P., who was separated from her 9-year-old daughter for 47 days as a result of Attorney General Jeff Sessions' "zero-tolerance" border policy.
August 16, 2018
As government officials and policymakers weigh the potential expansion of family detention, this report reveals how detention impacts asylum-seeking families and their claims for protection.
July 19, 2019

Since the mid-1980s, immigration courts have operated the Institutional Hearing Program (IHP). The program is designed to quickly deport people serving criminal sentences. Despite how long it’s...

July 18, 2019

While members of Congress were struggling to reach a bipartisan deal in February in order to end the government shutdown, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) quietly expanded its...

July 17, 2019
The Institutional Hearing Program permits immigration judges to conduct removal proceedings for noncitizens serving criminal sentences in certain correctional facilities.
July 3, 2019

Attorney General William Barr announced in April 2019 plans to eliminate bond hearings for immigrants who pass an asylum screening interview after entering the United States. This would have...

July 3, 2019
Immigration courts must continue to provide bond hearings to individuals fleeing persecution who enter the United States without inspection, are placed in expedited removal proceedings, and pass their credible fear interviews.
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.
June 11, 2019

As the Trump administration ramps up efforts to expand immigration detention in the United States, many detained immigrants continue to suffer behind bars due to woefully inadequate medical and...

June 11, 2019
New evidence shows the woefully inadequate medical and mental health care in an immigration detention center in Aurora, Colorado. Here are some of the detainees’ experiences we documented:
June 6, 2019

The Trump administration is cutting funds for educational programs, recreation, and legal services for unaccompanied children who are waiting to be placed with a sponsor in the United States. The...

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