Detainees Leaving ICE Detention from the
Phelps County Jail
Holdredge, Nebraska

Detainees Deported or Released
Number last 12 months 270
Out of total detained 516
Percent change:
from previous 12 months -19 %
from FY 2005 0 %
from FY 2000 8900 %
Facility ranking on detainees top 39 %

Table 1: Number leaving ICE detention
from this facility

During the most recent 12 month period for which data are available, a total of 270 detainees housed at the Phelps County Jail 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. Additional information about the arrangement, including whether a private company may operate the facility for the government, was not available at the time this report was posted.

Those individuals who departed from this facility because they were leaving ICE detention made up 52 percent of the 516 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 48 percent remained in ICE detention but were transferred from the Phelps County Jail 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 Phelps County Jail 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 Phelps County Jail last year ranked in the top 39 percent nationwide in the number of individuals leaving ICE detention. This means that 39 percent of the locations contributed the same or a larger numbers of exits, while 61 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 lower percentage of detainees (53 percent) left the country from the Phelps County Jail 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 Phelps County Jail numbers were down by 19 percent. During the April 2006-March 2007 period the facility processed 335 "exits" as compared with 270 last year. As detailed in Table 1, numbers last year were also about the same as compared with the number of those leaving ICE detention (269) during FY 2005. Exits last year were also up by 8,900 percent as compared with the number of exits (3) during FY 2000.

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 Phelps County Jail 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 30 3 10 %
2001 72 38 53 %
2002 84 38 45 %
2003 26 11 42 %
2004 53 43 81 %
2005 496 269 54 %
2006 481 344 72 %
2007 540 276 51 %
2008 (est) 590 332 56 %

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 Phelps County Jail 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 Phelps County Jail was the first ICE facility in which these detainees were held. According to ICE records, for the vast majority (99 percent) of these detainees, the Phelps County Jail was the first place they were sent when they were detained by ICE. The remaining 1 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. A total of 100 percent arrived at the Phelps County Jail 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 3 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 Phelps County Jail on average had stayed at somewhat fewer (1.0) ICE facilities.

Reason Left ICE Facility Profile U.S Profile
Number Percent Percent
Deported/Removed 135 50 % 72 %
Bonded out 68 25 % 8 %
U.S. Marshal or Other Agency 47 17 % 3 %
Voluntary departure 9 3 % 10 %
Orders of Recognizance or Supervision 7 3 % 5 %
Proceedings Terminated 2 1 % 2 %
Withdrawal 2 1 % 1 %
Died 0 . 0 %
Escaped 0 . 0 %
Paroled 0 . 0 %
Total 270 100 % 100 %

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 Phelps County Jail was that they were deported. A total of 135 individuals (50 percent) were deported or removed from the Phelps County Jail 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.)

Bonded out. A group of individuals (68 or 25 percent) were also "bonded out." This generally covers situations where the individual posts a bond and is released while awaiting a decision on their deportation (removal) case. The amount of the bond is set by ICE, or by an Immigration Judge. Many individuals are not eligible to be released because their continued detention is considered mandatory under provisions in the immigration laws.

Transferred to criminal custody. A total of 47 individuals (17 percent) left this facility last year because they were turned over to U.S. Marshals or to some other government agency. This typically occurs because there is an outstanding criminal case against the individual, or the individual is needed as a material witness in a criminal case.

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 9 detainees (3 percent) left the Phelps County Jail last year as voluntary departures.

Orders. Orders are additional mechanisms that are sometimes used to release a person while their case is pending, or awaiting removal. Under an "order of recognizance" an individual is released with reporting conditions while in deportation proceedings and awaiting a final decision. A second type of order ("order of supervision") releases an individual after a final order of removal. Here an individual is released because ICE has not met the time limits the law imposes for deporting the individual. There were 7 (3 percent) who left the Phelps County Jail detention for these reasons: 6 with orders of recognizance, and one with an order of supervision.

No legitimate grounds to deport. Sometimes individuals left ICE detention because they "won" their case. Typically this occurs when an Immigration Judge orders the deportation proceedings ICE has filed against them "terminated" (dismissed) and the judge's order after any appeals becomes final. Analysis of the latest 12 months of data show that a total of 2 individuals, or 1 percent were released from detention by the Phelps County Jail because a determination was made that there were no grounds to deport the individuals and thus ICE had to release them from custody.

Withdraw entry request. Individuals also leave ICE detention for a variety of additional reasons. One of these is that individuals who have been detained may be allowed to "withdraw" their request to enter the country. If a person withdraws their request, this effectively means they must leave the country. A total of 2 individuals (1 percent) fell into this category. Unlike deportation where the person is legally barred for a period of years and sometimes permanently from coming back to the United States, a person who withdraws their request is not for that reason barred from re-entry into this country.

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 Phelps County Jail 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 Phelps County Jail during the past 12 months for the following reason: Paroled. See "Reasons for Leaving ICE Detention" for a description of this category.

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 Phelps County Jail departed from the national picture. It was the case that a lower proportion left because they were deported from this facility (50 percent) than was true for the U.S. as a whole (72 percent). A lower proportion (3 percent) left this facility as voluntary departures than was true nationally (10 percent).

In addition, differences were seen for individuals released on bond (25 versus 8 percent), and those released to the U.S. Marshal or other agency (17 versus 3 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 Phelps County Jail had a much larger proportion of detainees from Mexico - 78 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 270 144 53.3 %
1 Mexico 211 135 63.9 %
2 Guatemala 39 6 15.3 %
3 El Salvador 11 0 0.0 %
4 Honduras 8 3 37.5 %
5 India 1 0 0.0 %

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 Phelps County Jail last year were: Guatemala (14%), El Salvador (4%), Honduras (3%) and India (0%). 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

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 varied from 0 percent to 64 percent. As mentioned above, this compares with 53 percent for all detainees.

With the highest rate of 64 percent were detainees from Mexico where 211 individuals were deported or took voluntary departure. At the other end of the range were detainees from El Salvador, where none ended up deported or were allowed voluntary departure.

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