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immigration detention

Immigrant Detention Numbers at All-Time High Thanks to New Facilities in Use

By Peek & Toland on August 23, 2019

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.

Immigrant Detention Numbers at All-Time High Thanks to New Facilities in Use

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.

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OIG Warns that El Paso Immigration Detention Center is Dangerously Overcrowded

By Peek & Toland on August 4, 2019

According to the New York Times, overcrowding at an El Paso immigrant detention facility is so severe that it presents an immediate health and safety risk to the immigrants being held in it. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) detailed the extreme and continued violations of federal standards that the overcrowded facility presents, including:

  • Instead of being released as advised after a maximum of 72 hours, people are being held for weeks in cells with standing room only
  • Limited access to showers or clean clothes, leaving some in the same soiled clothing that they have been wearing for days or weeks
  • 155 people being held in a cell meant to hold 35 people, and 41 people in a cell meant to hold eight people
OIG Warns that El Paso Immigration Detention Center is Dangerously Overcrowded

In response, DHS stated that it wasn’t equipped to handle the income surges of migrants, and that they would be opening a new holding facility for 800 people in late July, along with the soft-sided temporary structure that they have been using to hold 500 people since May. Furthermore, DHS revealed plans to open another processing center in El Paso that would hold 1,800 people in about 18 months. DHS also cited Congressional reform of immigration policies that create incentives for immigrants to enter the U.S.  as a major cause of the surge.

OIG responded that plans for future additional facilities were insufficient to address the worsening crisis, which was likely to result in rising tensions that could turn violent and a rampant spread of disease. However, OIG provided no concrete actions that DHS should take to remedy the situation. The immigration attorneys of Peek & Toland have the experience that you need when you are seeking any relief or benefit under federal immigration laws. We will determine the facts and evidence that are relevant to your case, evaluate your options, and help you decide the best course of action for your situation. We intend to place you in the best position possible to achieve your goals. Contact our Texas immigration attorneys at our office today and learn how we can assist you through this complicated situation.

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