Detention

While updating our immigration system has been a slow process, over the last decade, there have been efforts to pass comprehensive immigration reform legislation and the DREAM Act. Other reform efforts include executive actions such as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). Learn more about the ways America can upgrade its immigration system.

Recent Features

All Detention Content

September 13, 2019
This fact sheet gives a brief overview of the process individuals must undergo to seek release from immigration detention.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
September 4, 2019
The administrative complaint filed with government oversight agencies highlights a systematic failure to provide adequate medical care to children in Customs and Border Protection (CBP) custody. This violates CBP’s own internal guidance and extensive medical guidelines.
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.
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.
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.

October 22, 2019

The consequences of record-breaking workplace immigration raids are still overwhelming the legal system in southern Mississippi. After the Trump administration repeatedly threatened mass raids...

October 16, 2019

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law on Friday that will phase out private prisons—including federal immigration detention centers—throughout the state. The new law, AB 32,...

October 11, 2019

People in immigration detention who are represented by an attorney are more likely to receive a positive outcome in immigration court than those that face judges alone. Unfortunately, people who...

October 10, 2019

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has arrested millions of people based on unreliable electronic databases. In a recent court decision with nationwide impact, a federal judge in...

October 7, 2019

Nebane Abienwi, a 37-year-old man who had recently fled war-torn Cameroon, died in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody on Tuesday. His passing—the first of the new fiscal year...

October 2, 2019

A federal judge on Friday blocked the Trump administration’s attempts to significantly undo the Flores Settlement Agreement, which mandates certain protections for children held in immigration...

September 26, 2019

Immigration enforcement may be a federal responsibility, but state governments have a great deal of power over the conditions under which immigrants are detained. At a time when over-crowded...

September 20, 2019

Five mothers and their children sued the U.S. government on Thursday for forcibly separating them in 2018. The five families are among the thousands of parents and young children who were split...

September 4, 2019

Border Patrol agents placed a detained 9-year-old girl with a kidney disease at high risk of a urinary tract infection by not allowing her to shower or change her underwear for five days. Agents...

August 30, 2019

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently notified Congress of its intent to pull $271 million dollars from FEMA, the Coast Guard, and TSA for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)....

August 21, 2019
he Trump administration announced that it will publish a new regulation on Friday that allows for the indefinite detention of immigrant children. The rule will terminate the Flores Settlement Agreement, which currently requires that the government hold children in the least restrictive setting and release them as quickly as possible, generally within 20 days.
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.
October 22, 2019

The consequences of record-breaking workplace immigration raids are still overwhelming the legal system in southern Mississippi. After the Trump administration repeatedly threatened mass raids...

October 16, 2019

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill into law on Friday that will phase out private prisons—including federal immigration detention centers—throughout the state. The new law, AB 32,...

October 11, 2019

People in immigration detention who are represented by an attorney are more likely to receive a positive outcome in immigration court than those that face judges alone. Unfortunately, people who...

October 10, 2019

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has arrested millions of people based on unreliable electronic databases. In a recent court decision with nationwide impact, a federal judge in...

October 7, 2019

Nebane Abienwi, a 37-year-old man who had recently fled war-torn Cameroon, died in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody on Tuesday. His passing—the first of the new fiscal year...

October 2, 2019

A federal judge on Friday blocked the Trump administration’s attempts to significantly undo the Flores Settlement Agreement, which mandates certain protections for children held in immigration...

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.
September 26, 2019

Immigration enforcement may be a federal responsibility, but state governments have a great deal of power over the conditions under which immigrants are detained. At a time when over-crowded...

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.
September 20, 2019

Five mothers and their children sued the U.S. government on Thursday for forcibly separating them in 2018. The five families are among the thousands of parents and young children who were split...

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