According to recent statistics, the number of immigrants in detention is at a historic high. At last count, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were detaining more than 52,000 migrants, almost 1,000 of which are family units. In fact, in just two weeks, the numbers increased dramatically from over 49,000 to 52,000. In the later years of the Obama administration, the average number of detainees hovered around 35,000.
Earlier this year, ICE requested 52,000 detention beds, but Congress limited the average daily population to 45,000. For the 2020 federal fiscal year, ICE is seeking detention beds for 54,000.
ICE now has drastically exceeded the limit that Congress set, quietly starting to ship detainees to three new privately-run detention facilities in Mississippi and Louisiana. Together, these facilities can house another 4,000 detainees, which represents a 50% increase in the detained immigration population in these states.
These facilities have poor histories, including three deaths at one facility and a 2012 riot at the Adams County, Mississippi, facility that left a guard dead. The Department of Justice recently announced that it would no longer house federal prisoners at the Adams County facility due to unsatisfactory conditions. As a result, ICE has opted to use the space for its detainees instead.
Furthermore, advocates have pointed out that immigrants in these facilities will be less likely to succeed in their asylum claims. There are insufficient numbers of judges in Louisiana to hear the new cases, and Mississippi has no immigration courts. A shortage of immigration lawyers in this area, and harsh results in existing immigration cases from these courts are likely to contribute to the denial of claims for most immigrants. In many cases, immigrants will be left to plead their cases before an out-of-state judge via video hearing.
Critics have pointed to the record-high numbers as a product of the Trump administration’s harsh policies, which have resulted in the creation of an avoidable humanitarian crisis.
Our goal is to assist you with your immigration concerns, whether family or business-based. We can evaluate your situation and develop a strategy that is most likely to be efficient and effective in your case. Regardless of the immigration matter that you are facing, the attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience, knowledge, and reputation that you want and need to advocate on your behalf. When results matter most, contact us at (512) 474-4445.