Detainees Leaving ICE Detention from the
Limestone Detention Center
Groesbeck, Texas

Detainees Deported or Released
Number last 12 months 1,008
Out of total detained 1,433
Percent change:
from previous 12 months 140 %
from FY 2005 -57 %
from FY 2000 -
Facility ranking on detainees top 19 %

Table 1: Number leaving ICE detention
from this facility

During the most recent 12 month period for which data are available, a total of 1,008 detainees housed at the Limestone Detention Center left that facility because they were deported, were released under supervision while their cases were being decided, or left ICE detention for one of a variety of other reasons. The use of this facility for the temporary housing of federal immigration detainees was arranged through an intergovernmental service agreement (IGSA) under which payments by ICE to another governmental agency are made for housing federal detainees. While the facility is government owned, it is operated by the Community Education Center that was in the business of providing detention services for housing federal detainees.

Those individuals who departed from this facility because they were leaving ICE detention made up 70 percent of the 1,433 detainees housed at this facility during the last 12 months. This report focuses on the reasons these individuals left ICE detention. Sometimes this report speaks of these individuals as those "exiting" ICE detention, or simply as "exits." The other 30 percent remained in ICE detention but were transferred from the Limestone Detention Center to other facilities.

This report covers those who left ICE custody. It excludes individuals transferred to other ICE facilities. For more information on this facility, including individuals that were transferred, see additional TRAC reports in this series.

This report series is based upon analyses conducted by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University of 3.4 million government records tracking each individual who passed through an ICE detention facility during the past decade. The most recent 12 month period for which comprehensive data are available is for April 2007 through March 2008. See About the Data.

How This Facility Ranks Nationally

Rankings on the number leaving ICE detention. The Limestone Detention Center was one of 1,528 facilities that were used to house immigration detainees during the last decade, and one of 654 facilities nationwide that housed ICE detainees during the most recent 12 month period. Of these 654, there were 324 facilities that had at least 10 individuals who were deported or released. Excluding those facilities with fewer than 10 exits, the Limestone Detention Center last year ranked in the top 19 percent nationwide in the number of individuals leaving ICE detention. This means that 19 percent of the locations contributed the same or a larger numbers of exits, while 81 percent had a smaller number. See Table 1.

Deportations. Nationally, the most common reason that a detainee left ICE detention was that they were deported from the United States. During the most recent 12 month period for which comprehensive data are available, nationwide 81 percent of those leaving ICE detention were deported or "voluntarily" departed. By way of comparison, a higher percentage of detainees (100 percent) left the country from the Limestone Detention Center because they were formally deported, or left under the so-called "voluntary departure" procedure.

Trends in the Number of Detainees Deported or Released

Trends in the number leaving ICE detention. When deportations and other releases during the April 2007-March 2008 period were compared with those in the previous 12 months, the Limestone Detention Center numbers were sharply up by 140 percent. During the April 2006-March 2007 period the facility processed 420 "exits" as compared with 1,008 last year. As detailed in Table 1, numbers last year were however down 57 percent as compared with the number of those leaving ICE detention (2,333) during FY 2005.

Bar chart of fymondt

Figure 1: Month-by-month number of detainees leaving this facility

Longer term exit trends. Greater detail on these long-term trends for those leaving ICE detention from the Limestone Detention Center are displayed in Figure 1. Here the month-by-month number of exits are graphed against the backdrop of the total detainees leaving the custody of this facility. Exits are displayed with darker shading while those transferred appear with lighter shading. As is readily apparent, considerable variation has occurred over time in both the overall numbers of detainees as well as the volume leaving ICE detention during this period.

Fiscal Year ICE Detainees
Total Exits Percent
1999 0 0 -
2000 0 0 -
2001 0 0 -
2002 0 0 -
2003 8 6 75 %
2004 482 130 27 %
2005 2,846 2,333 82 %
2006 242 222 92 %
2007 1,594 1,157 73 %
2008 (est) 164 126 77 %

Table 2: Number of detainees leaving
this facility over the last decade

Exit trends are also summarized by fiscal year in Table 2. Year-by-year figures for the Limestone Detention Center are given for the total number of detainees as compared with those leaving ICE detention from the facility. The percent of detainees that left ICE detention is also given. (As mentioned above, the remaining detainees were transferred to another ICE detention facility.) Because data for all twelve months of the most recent fiscal year are not yet available, the FY 2008 numbers (October 2007 through September 2008) are estimated based upon reporting for the first six months.

Were Detained Individuals from the Local Area?

Information on the place of arrest was not included in the available data ICE released. However, we can examine whether the Limestone Detention Center was the first ICE facility in which these detainees were held. According to ICE records, for a substantial proportion (46 percent) of these detainees, the Limestone Detention Center was the first place they were sent when they were detained by ICE. The remaining 54 percent had been transferred in from another ICE detention facility.

We can also look at how quickly they arrived at this facility after they were first detained. Again, a total of 46 percent arrived at the Limestone Detention Center at some point during the very first day they were detained by ICE. There was considerable variability among detainees in the number of detention facilities they had been held in before they were finally deported or released from this facility. The number of facilities ranged as high as 6 separate locations for some detainees. These figures again are based on an analysis of the most recent 12 months for which data are available.

For the United States as a whole, last year the typical detainee stayed in two different ICE detention facilities before being deported or released - half stayed in 2 or fewer facilities, and half stayed in 2 or more. The average number of ICE facilities detainees moved through was 1.9. Detainees at the Limestone Detention Center on average had stayed at somewhat more (2.1) ICE facilities.

Reason Left ICE Facility Profile U.S Profile
Number Percent Percent
Deported/Removed 953 94.5 % 71.6 %
Voluntary departure 52 5.1 % 9.6 %
Bonded out 1 0.0 % 7.8 %
Orders of Recognizance or Supervision 1 0.0 % 4.9 %
U.S. Marshal or Other Agency 1 0.0 % 3.4 %
Died 0 . 0.0 %
Escaped 0 . 0.0 %
Paroled 0 . 0.2 %
Proceedings Terminated 0 . 1.6 %
Withdrawal 0 . 0.6 %
Total 1,008 100.0 % 100.0 %

Table 3: Reasons individuals left ICE detention during the last 12 months

Why Did Detainees Leave ICE Detention?

ICE records one of twenty-three reasons a detainee left ICE detention. As shown in Table 3, these reasons fall into ten general categories -- from leaving because one is deported or removed, to leaving because one escaped or the individual died while in custody.

Deportation. As mentioned earlier, the most common reason detainees left the Limestone Detention Center was that they were deported. A total of 953 individuals (95 percent) were deported or removed from the Limestone Detention Center during the most recent 12 month period for which data are available. (ICE data did not distinguish between deportations and removals, and the terms are used interchangeably in this report.)

Voluntary departure. Under some circumstances, detainees are allowed to take "voluntary departure." As with deportation, under voluntary departure a person must leave the country. However, unlike formal deportation where the individual is barred by law from reentering this country permanently or for a period of years, under voluntary departure the individual is not legally barred from reentry. An additional 52 detainees (5 percent) left the Limestone Detention Center last year as voluntary departures.

Escape and death. Nationally, there were 92 individuals who escaped ICE detention during the latest 12 month period for which data are available, and 8 individuals were recorded as having died in detention. No one was recorded by the Limestone Detention Center as either escaping or dying last year. Over the past decade, there was also no record of anyone who died or escaped from this facility.

As shown in Table 3, no one was recorded as leaving the Limestone Detention Center during the past 12 months for the following reasons: Paroled, Proceedings Terminated and Withdrawal. See "Reasons for Leaving ICE Detention" for a description of these categories.

Pie chart of release_grp

Figure 2: Reasons individuals left ICE detention

Comparing Release Reasons Against The National Picture

In many respects release reasons for the Limestone Detention Center departed from the national picture. It was the case that a higher proportion left because they were deported from this facility (95 percent) than was true for the U.S. as a whole (72 percent). A lower proportion (5 percent) left this facility as voluntary departures than was true nationally (10 percent).

In addition, differences were seen for individuals released on bond (0 versus 8 percent), and detainees released on orders of recognizance or supervision (0 versus 5 percent).

The facility's percentages fell within 3 percentage points of the national figures for all other categories.


Which nationalities predominate? Last year in the United States, individuals from Mexico comprised the largest number of those leaving ICE detention. Some 53.6 percent of all detainees recorded Mexico as their country of origin. The Limestone Detention Center had a smaller proportion of detainees from Mexico - 39 percent among their exits. Detainees from Mexico were also the largest single nationality group among those leaving detention from the facility.

Nationalities Ranked in Top 10 Left ICE Detention
Total Deported/
- ALL 1,008 1,005 99.7 %
1 Mexico 397 397 100.0 %
2 Brazil 234 234 100.0 %
3 Honduras 221 221 100.0 %
4 Ecuador 94 93 98.9 %
5 Dominican Republic 27 27 100.0 %
6 Peru 14 14 100.0 %
7 Costa Rica 4 4 100.0 %
8 Colombia 3 3 100.0 %
9 Bolivia 2 2 100.0 %
Venezuela 2 2 100.0 %

Table 4: Numbers leaving ICE detention by nationality
during the last 12 months

In descending order, the other top nationalities after Mexico that made up those leaving ICE detention from the Limestone Detention Center last year were: Brazil (23%), Honduras (22%), Ecuador (9%) and Dominican Republic (3%). This compared to the United States as a whole where the other top five nationalities after Mexico were Honduras (11.0%), Guatemala (10.0%), El Salvador (8.4%) and Dominican Republic (1.6%).

Pie chart of nat

Figure 3: Nationality of those
leaving ICE detention

For the frequency for each of the other nationalities among those leaving ICE detention from the Limestone Detention Center last year see Table 4.

Deportations and voluntary departures by nationality. Within the nationalities that made up those listed in Table 4 with more than one individual, the proportion deported or voluntarily departing didn't really vary. As mentioned above, this compares with 100 percent for all detainees.

More than one country was tied with the highest rate of 100 percent, where detainees were deported or took voluntary departure. At the other end of the range were detainees from Ecuador, where 99 percent ended up deported or were allowed voluntary departure.

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