Wednesday, April 27, 2016
TRAC Immigration has a new report on the immigrant detention system.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention system depends on hundreds of jails, prisons, and other facilities largely owned as well as run by others — some by local government agencies and others by private, for-profit companies. Using beds in these facilities that are widely scattered across the country, ICE manages a large complex system with daily flows of individuals both into as well as out of ICE custody. In addition, an even larger number of individuals already in ICE custody are continually being transferred among these facilities.
A total of 325,209 individuals left ICE custody last year, while 39,082 were still detained at the end of FY 2015. The reasons for which individuals were released from ICE custody varied markedly by detention facility. Nationally, the most common reason for leaving ICE custody was because a detainee was being deported; this reason was listed in 55 percent of recorded departures last year. The next largest group were detainees released on bond or on their personal recognizance while their cases were pending. Others were released because their cases had concluded and they had been found to have a lawful right to remain in the country.
According to detailed government records on each individual who entered, left, or remained in ICE custody during fiscal year 2015, the agency used a total of 637 different facilities last year. While many of these 637 detention facilities were concentrated along the southwest border with Mexico, one or more facilities existed in every one of the fifty states, as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands. Some of these were temporary holding rooms, others were designed for long term stays. Some held only a single person on one occasion during the entire year, others had tens of thousands pass through their doors during this same period. For facilities on which daily costs were available in the records released by ICE, per diem rates ranged from as low as $30 per bed for a short-stay (under 72 hours) facility to a high of $168.84 per day, with lower rates for high volume usage.
This report presents an overview of ICE's custody system, and accompanies a series of reports covering each detention facility. The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University developed the database on which these reports are based using the stay-by-stay records from each detention facility that at least one individual entered, left or stayed at during the past year. These detailed records were obtained by TRAC through Freedom of Information Act requests to ICE.