The Center for Migration Studies Releases Analysis
of DHS-ICE Detention System on September 22, 2012
New York, NY – A new report, “Piecing Together the US Immigrant Detention Puzzle One Night at a Time: An Analysis of All Persons in DHS-ICE Custody on September 22, 2012,” released today by the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) reveals a highly privatized immigrant detention system and provides extensive demographic and other information on immigrant detainees in the custody of the US Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“DHS-ICE” or “ICE”) on the night of September 22, 2012. It also compares this data with an earlier analysis conducted by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) of a similar dataset of detainees in DHS-ICE custody on January 25, 2009.
The 2012 and 2009 datasets were provided by DHS-ICE in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from the Boston Globe and Associated Press. This report sets forth findings related to: (1) the distinct removal processes to which the detainees were subject; (2) the facilities in which they were held; (3) length of detention and (4) their criminal histories, if any.
The report finds that on September 22, 2012:
- DHS-ICE held 35,197 people in its custody.
- 18,470 detainees had pending removal cases, 14,674 had been ordered removed, and 2,053 cases included no information on whether or not the detainee had been ordered removed.
- Thirty-eight percent of detainees were subject to summary, expedited, and administrative removal processes.
- Forty percent of detainees were from the Northern Triangle states of Central America and 34 percent from Mexico, compared to 37 percent from Mexico and 28 percent from Central America on January 25, 2009.
- Detainees were held in 189 facilities, with 77 percent concentrated in nine states and 51 percent in the four states that border Mexico.
- DHS-ICE held 67 percent of all detainees in facilities owned and/or administered by for-profit prison corporations, including 90 percent of the detainees in the 21 facilities with the largest detainee populations.
- Forty-seven percent of detainees had been held for less than 30 days, and 4,179 (12 percent) had been held for more than six-months.
- Sixty-one percent of detainees had criminal convictions, compared to 42 percent on January 25, 2009.
- Less than 10 percent of all detainees on September 22, 2012 had committed violent crimes and substantial percentages — a higher rate than on January 25, 2009 — had committed traffic and immigration violations.
The report makes several recommendations related to reform of the detention system, adherence to the law, greater transparency and better record-keeping. It also details the growing role of private prison corporations in administering this system.
“The overwhelming privatization of the US immigrant detention system may well represent the greatest barrier to detention reform and to the establishment of a transparent, accountable and more humane system,” stated author and CMS Executive Director Donald Kerwin. “Moreover, privatization has likely increased since the night studied in this report.”
To download the report, “Piecing Together the US Immigrant Detention Puzzle One Night at a Time: An Analysis of All Persons in DHS-ICE Custody on September 22, 2012,” visit https://doi.org/10.1177/233150241500300402.
Direct media requests to Rachel Reyes, CMS Communications Coordinator, at [email protected].