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The Criminal Alien Program (CAP): Immigration Enforcement in Prisons and Jails

The Criminal Alien Program (CAP) is an expansive immigration enforcement program that leads to the initiation of removal proceedings in many cases. While CAP has existed in one form or another for decades, there is still much to be learned about the program, how it is organized, and how it works. What is known is that CAP extends to every area of the country and intersects with most state and local law enforcement agencies.

For years, the CAP program has operated with little public attention and many of its elements have only recently come to light following FOIA litigation against Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The information obtained through the lawsuit regarding CAP’s current organization and staffing suggests CAP is not a single program, but a loose-knit group of several different programs operating within ICE. Other than a small number of staff responsible for the administration of CAP at ICE headquarters, there is no dedicated CAP staff. Rather, ICE pulls personnel and resources from across the agency to perform CAP-related functions.  

The ICE declarations and deposition also explain how CAP functions within prisons and jails. There appears to be little consistency in, and little or no policy governing, how CAP cooperates with state and local law enforcement agencies in different regions and in how CAP interacts with detainees in different facilities. Instead, CAP appears to function as an ad hoc set of activities that operate differently across the country and across penal institutions, raising questions about the adequacy of oversight, training, and accountability of the personnel implementing CAP.

This information confirms that there is still much about CAP that remains unknown or unclear.  Given the breadth of CAP, the centrality of its role in immigration enforcement, and its large impact on the immigrant community, it is critical that ICE clarify how CAP operates.Read more...

Scholars Call for Passage of the DREAM Act

Published on Tue, Dec 14, 2010

As part of this push, four prominent scholars of students from immigrant families held a conference call with press yesterday to voice support for the DREAM Act. The call was hosted by the Immigration Policy Center of the Washington-based American Immigration Council. The scholars were Roberto G. Gonzales, of the University of Washington School of Social Work; Douglas S. Massey, of Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs; Rubén G. Rumbaut, of the University of California Irvine School of Social Sciences; and Carola Suarez-Orozco, from New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development.

Published in the Education Week

Litigation Clearinghouse Newsletter Vol. 3, No. 2

This issue covers recently filed lawsuits involving access to counsel at immigration interviews, abuse of minors in detention, and the border fence between the U.S. and Mexico. The newsletter also includes updates on the Duran Gonzales class action in the Ninth Circuit (involving 245(i) and I-212s), Matter of Blake litigation, and the class action suit to restore SSI benefits for refugees and asylees.

Published On: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 | Download File

IPC's Michele Waslin on Univision

Published on Wed, Apr 13, 2011

Watch Senior Policy Analyst, Michele Waslin, discuss the Immigration Policy Center's second annual review of the Department of Homeland Security:


Published in the Univision

Litigation Clearinghouse Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 7

This issue covers Supreme Court arguments in reinstatement case, filing fee increases at the court of appeals, and REAL ID Act's effect on jurisdiction over APA actions in district court.

Published On: Wednesday, March 22, 2006 | Download File

Federal immigration agencies must improve reform efforts beyond deportation, report finds

Published on Thu, Apr 14, 2011

As Florida business and faith leaders speak out against state immigration-enforcement proposals, a new report released Tuesday raises questions about President Obama’s leadership in crafting a federal solution.

Florida business and faith leaders who spoke as part of a National Immigration Forum press conference on Wednesday said proposed state legislature immigration bills are harmful and that immigration is a federal problem that requires a federal solution.

Adam Babington, vice president of government affairs for the Florida Chamber of Commerce said the state needs a federal, consistent immigration policy.

But an Immigration Policy Center report released on Tuesday concludes the Obama Administration and the Department of Homeland Security are not using their extensive authority to make the necessary changes to immigration policy.

Homeland Security is responsible for the nation’s three immigration agencies: U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (aka ICE).

The Immigration Policy Center report states:

From the beginning of the Obama Administration, there has been a tension between enhanced immigration enforcement and a push for comprehensive immigration reform (CIR). This tension increased significantly in 2010 as the Administration ramped up its immigration-enforcement efforts at the expense, many believe, of the very people most likely to benefit from legalization and CIR.

The report adds, “the public looked to the President and his Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for some measure of immigration relief. For the most part, they didn’t find it.”Read more...

Published in the American Independent



This Litigation Issue Page provides information about developments in immigration-related mandamus actions, with particular emphasis on cases seeking to compel the adjudication of applications that are delayed because of security checks.

USCIS Revisions of FBI Name Check Policy and Practice|Anticipating the Government's Answer and Preparing to Respond|What Type of Relief Should I Expect from the Court?|Attorney's Fees|Decisions in Mandamus Cases|Additional Resources

USCIS Revisions of FBI Name Check Policy and Practice

In a June 22, 2009 press release, USCIS stated that, in partnership with the FBI, it had eliminated the FBI name check delays - officially described as the FBI National Name Check Program (NNCP) backlog. USCIS stated that it had met the goals set forth in a joint business plan between USCIS and the FBI announced on April 2, 2008: to achieve a sustainable performance level by the NNCP of completing 98 percent of name check requests submitted by USCIS within 30 days, and the remaining two percent within 90 days. USCIS stated in its press release that this performance level will become the new agency standard.Read more...