In responses to the recent publicity regarding the number of detainees who have died in immigration custody over the last several years, ICE has announced that it will attempt to revamp the current system. As a result, ICE released information on all of it’s current 32,000 detainees to the Migration Policy Institute. The Report by MPI discovered that ICE has a lot of work to do in order to adhere to the laws on bond, parole, and the types of individuals who should be detained.
The report reported that 58 percent of detainees did not have criminal records. This is surprising considering mandatory detention laws are intended to apply largely to criminal aliens. The report found that the most serious convictions for 20 percent of detainees were for traffic related offenses, and that more than 400 detainees without criminal records had been held for a year or more. The report also found that 950 persons had been detained for more than six months after receiving a final removal order, despite a Supreme Court decision holding that removal in most cases must occur within six months. Also, and equally surprising is that ICE is detaining these non-criminal detainees at an average cost of $141 per night compared to the $13 per night it costs to hold detainees at an alternate detention program.
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