Immigration Enforcement

Advocacy Tools to Better Understand and Combat Immigration Enforcement

Recent years have seen a rise in immigration enforcement and a marked shift in its implementation.  In years past, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) utilized tools such as workplace raids to detain and eventually deport thousands of noncitizens.  Today, ICE captures noncitizens by relying upon local and state law enforcement; looking to identification programs such as Secure Communities (S-Comm), the 287(g) program, and the Criminal Alien Program (CAP).  As a result, deportations have reached an all-time high, with 409,849 in 2012 and similar forecasts for years to come.

However, as immigration enforcement has ratcheted up, so has advocacy.  The ILRC has been at the forefront of campaigns locally and nationally to fight back against immigration enforcement and protect our communities.  Below, advocates will find a series of tools regarding immigration enforcement advocacy, including educational tools to better understand these complex issues and strategy tools for campaigns.  For questions about these materials or to seek assistance in starting a local campaign or joining national efforts, contact Angie Junck at or Grisel Ruiz at

Detainer Map

Mouseover “Customize Map Layers” for different views. Click on a dot or shaded area on the map for more details.


ICE hold policy: Will not comply with some or all requests to detain a person for extra time to transfer to ICE


No ICE holds; No ICE access: Will not hold anyone for transfer to ICE, nor allow ICE agents into the jail


No ICE holds; No notifications; No ICE access: Will not hold anyone for ICE, will not tell ICE about release
dates & will not allow ICE agents into the jail


Statewide Law or Policy limiting compliance with ICE detainer requests


Local jails may be detaining people in violation of the Fourth Amendment

Last updated January 2016

Please contact Lena Graber at to advise of any additions, updates, or corrections.

Contains information from OpenStreetMap, which is made available here under the Open Database License (ODbL).

Detainer Policies


Fact Sheet on Sanctuary Policies and Federal Funding

This brief fact sheet explains the federal statute of 8 USC § 1373 and its relation to policies limiting compliance with immigration detainers or other immigration enforcement assistance by local law enforcement agencies, also called “Sanctuary Policies.”  These policies do not generally conflict with 8 USC § 1373 and therefore do not put localities in jeopardy of losing federal funds.

Legal Analysis of Immigration Detainers

This updated memo explores recent case law on immigration detainers and how the 2015 detainer forms are still constitutionally deficient.  Local jails who detain immigrants for ICE continue to risk liability for unlawful detentions.

A Guide to the Criminal Alien Program

The Criminal Alien Program encompasses the many ways that ICE agents interact with the criminal justice system in order to find and arrest immigrants.  This guide explains how CAP operations work, how they intersect with other programs, and what ICE’s presence in, and access to, local jails means for immigrants and immigrant rights organizers.

Letter Urging Monterey County BOS to Stop Cooperating with ICE

In October 2015, various community groups, including the ILRC, submitted a letter to the Monterey Board of Supervisors urging them to intervene in the Sheriff’s cooperation with ICE.  Please see this letter as a sample for your community advocacy efforts.

Ending Local Collaboration with ICE: A Toolkit for Immigration Advocates

This toolkit for organizers explains how ICE co-opts local law enforcement into immigration enforcement, and how communities can fight to disentangle them. Along with sample questions for local law enforcement and tools for monitoring immigration enforcement activities in your community, this toolkit explains the new enforcement landscape under PEP-Comm and other ICE programs and gives fundamental background information about how ICE is at work in local jails.

Cooperate with the Community Don’t Cooperate with ICE (An Infographic)

An immigration enforcement infographic showing what happens when local law enforcement cooperates with ICE.  The infographic shows who in our communities are captured by immigration enforcement, how they are captured, and what can happen to community members thereafter.

DHS’s New “Priority Enforcement Program”

A primer on the Priority Enforcement Program (“PEP-Comm”) for local leaders and elected officials.

NGO Letter to DHS on Problems with PEP and Detainers

This letter from national immigrant rights organizations describes the legal and policy problems with the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP), immigration detainers, and other entanglement with local law enforcement.

Life under PEP-Comm

This short advisory explains the PEP program announced in November 2014 and the new detainer and notification request forms released by DHS in June 2015.

AB 60 Resources - Updated 4/29/2015

The first handout, "AB 60 California Driver’s License: Frequently Asked Questions," is aimed at immigration attorneys and provides an overview of frequently asked questions regarding AB 60 licenses, including some common red flags. The second handout, "Preguntas Acerca de la AB 60," is aimed at community members and written in Spanish. It provides answers to common questions such as whether it is safe to apply for an AB 60 license depending on prior criminal or immigration history.

FAQs on Immigration Authority of Local Law Enforcement

This FAQ explains questions of legal authority for local law enforcement agencies to be involved in immigration enforcement.  Specifically, the document reviews recent court decisions and examines how the law is evolving in regard to ICE detainers, administrative immigration warrants, and other immigration enforcement mechanisms that local law enforcement may encounter.  The FAQ clarifies that even if there is probable cause to believe that a person is unlawfully present, this is not a basis to arrest, because local law enforcement officers do not have authority to enforce civil immigration law.

Fighting Back on Immigration Holds: How Changes in Law Have Limited Cooperation with Holds in CA

A brief overview of the way Miranda-Olivares v. Clackamas County and the California TRUST Act have vastly limited the circumstances in which law enforcement may honor a hold, including the current standards under which holds should be assessed. 

Immigration Enforcement Questions for Sheriff Meetings

These sample questions provide guidance for meetings with local law enforcement.  They cover monitoring of the TRUST Act, any other ways that law enforcement may cooperate with ICE, and the potential to push for better local policy. 

U Visa Basics for Law Enforcement

This handout provides a basic overview of U Visas specifically for law enforcement.  Advocates may use this to advocate for stronger U Visa certification policies and practices with law enforcement. 

Is My Client Subject to Mandatory Detention? How Advances in ICE Hold Policies Will Reduce Those Subject to Mandatory Detention

Owing to a growing number of polices will limit ICE holds, and updates in case law, fewer people will be subject to mandatory detention, particularly in California.  This handout provides an overview of mandatory detention law including how these updates may benefit your client. 

ICE Hold Policy Talking Points

The attached provides an overview of the various policy points that advocates should consider in arguing for stronger ICE hold policies, including what language to avoid. 

Letter to County Counsel and Sheriffs regarding Miranda-Olivares v. Clackamas County

This letter was sent to all California County Counsel and Sheriff Offices to advise on Miranda-Olivares and urge jurisdictions to stop complying with Immigration detainers, unless or until such detainers are accompanied by a judicial determination of probable cause to satisfy the requirements of the Fourth Amendment.

Updates in Immigration Detainer Cases and How to Use Them in Organizing

This summary provides details on recent groundbreaking federal court rulings related to immigration detainers. Learn what these decisions mean and how to use this information with your own local sheriffs, other law enforcement, and elected officials.

Memorandum to All County Counsel Offices Regarding Interpretation and Implementation of the TRUST Act

This memorandum was sent to all California County Counsel offices on December 19, 2013.  The letter discusses interpretation and implementation of the TRUST Act.  Advocates may use this letter to better understand the Act as well as in advocacy.

Law Governing Immigration Enforcement Against Juveniles in California

An advocate's review of various laws and policy that govern immigration enforcement against juveniles in California, including the TRUST Act (AB 4) and state confidentiality laws.

The California TRUST Act: A Guide for Criminal Defenders

On October 5, 2013, Governor Brown signed AB 4, the TRUST Act, which went into effect January 1, 2014.  It will be codified as Gov. Code §§ 7282, 7282.5.  The TRUST Act prevents local law enforcement from detaining noncitizens pursuant to an immigration “hold” or detainer beyond the time that they otherwise could be released from criminal custody.  This Guide discusses how the TRUST Act works and defense strategies in light of the Act.

What Happens in Deportation Proceedings? A Guide for Immigrants in the CA Criminal Justice System

Because there are no public defenders in immigration proceedings, it is important to arm noncitizen defendants with as much information as possible if transferred over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  This handout provides noncitizens in the criminal justice system with rights and relevant information for their criminal case and immigration case.  Spanish Translation forthcoming.

ICE Parental Directive

On August 23, 2013, ICE issued a directive on “Facilitating Parental Interests in the Course of Civil Immigration Enforcement Activities.”  This document summarizes the guidelines laid out in the directive. 

Getting ICE out of Your Jail: Criminal Alien Program Advocacy Guide

New Advocacy Guide for ICE's massive Criminal Alien Program (CAP), from the National Immigrant Project, Washington Defenders Association, and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center.

Revised 2012 ICE Detainer Guidance: Who It Covers, Who It Does Not, & the Problems that Remain

The National Immigrant Project (NIP) and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) announce Practice Advisory regarding the December 2012 ICE Detainer Guidance & Form:  In December 2012, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced new ICE detainer guidance and issued a new detainer form which it claimed would result in the issuance of fewer detainers.  The attached Practice Advisory provides guidance surrounding what this change actually means.  In particular, the advisory discusses who will continue to be captured by the new ICE detainer guidance, who will be helped, and the administrative and procedural problems that remain.