Detainees Leaving ICE Detention from the
Port Isabel Service Processing Center
Los Fresnos, Texas
Table 1: Number leaving ICE detention
|top 6 %
from this facility
During the most recent 12 month period for which data are available, a total of 3,949 detainees housed
at the Port Isabel Service Processing 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.
This facility is an ICE Service Processing Center (SPC).
While the facility is government owned, it is operated by the Native American Corporation-Technical Services Incorporated 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 36 percent of
the 10,830 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 64 percent remained in ICE detention but were transferred from the Port Isabel Service Processing 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 Port Isabel Service Processing 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
Port Isabel Service Processing Center last year ranked in the top 6 percent nationwide in
the number of individuals leaving ICE detention.
This means that 6 percent of the locations contributed the same or a
larger numbers of exits, while 94
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, the same percentage of detainees (81 percent) left the country from the Port Isabel Service Processing 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 Port Isabel Service Processing Center numbers
were down by 37 percent.
During the April 2006-March 2007 period the facility processed 6,258 "exits" as compared with 3,949 last year.
As detailed in Table 1, numbers last year were also down 72 percent as compared with the number of those leaving
ICE detention (14,122) during FY 2005.
Exits last year were also down by 52 percent as compared with the number of exits (8,286) during FY 2000.
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 Port Isabel Service Processing 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.
Table 2: Number of detainees leaving
|| 51 %
|| 53 %
|| 76 %
|| 78 %
|| 80 %
|| 79 %
|| 84 %
|| 80 %
|| 42 %
|| 39 %
this facility over the last decade
Exit trends are also summarized by fiscal year in Table 2.
Year-by-year figures for the Port Isabel Service Processing 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 Port Isabel Service Processing Center was the first ICE facility in which
these detainees were held.
According to ICE records, for a few (8 percent) of these detainees, the Port Isabel Service Processing Center
was the first place they were sent when they were detained by ICE.
The remaining 92 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 30 percent arrived at the Port Isabel Service Processing 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 14 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 Port Isabel Service Processing Center on average had stayed at somewhat more (3.1) ICE facilities.
Table 3: Reasons individuals left ICE detention during the last 12 months
|| 80 %
|| 72 %
|| 10 %
|| 8 %
|| 5 %
|| 2 %
|| 3 %
|| 5 %
|| 1 %
|| 10 %
|| 1 %
|| 3 %
|| 0 %
|| 0 %
|| 0 %
|| 0 %
|| 1 %
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.
As mentioned earlier, the most common reason detainees left the Port Isabel Service Processing Center
was that they were deported.
A total of 3,146 individuals (80 percent) were deported or removed from the Port Isabel Service Processing 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.)
A group of individuals (378 or 10 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.
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
Analysis of the latest 12 months of data show that a total of 213 individuals, or 5 percent were released from detention by the Port Isabel Service Processing Center
because a determination was made that there were no grounds
to deport the individuals and thus ICE had to release them from custody.
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 138 (3 percent) who left the Port Isabel Service Processing Center detention for these reasons: 15 with orders
of recognizance, and 123 with orders of supervision.
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 40 detainees (1 percent) left the Port Isabel Service Processing Center last year as voluntary departures.
Transferred to criminal custody.
A total of 30 individuals (1 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.
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 Port Isabel Service Processing Center as either escaping or dying last year.
Over the past decade, 6 escapes were recorded from this facility, but no deaths.
As shown in Table 3, no one was recorded as leaving the Port Isabel Service Processing Center during the past 12 months for the following
Withdrawal. See "Reasons for Leaving ICE Detention" for a description of this category.
Figure 2: Reasons individuals left ICE detention
Comparing Release Reasons Against The National Picture
In many respects release reasons for the Port Isabel Service Processing Center departed from the national picture.
It was the case that a higher proportion left because they were deported from
this facility (80 percent) than was true for the U.S. as a whole (72 percent).
A lower proportion (1 percent) left this facility as voluntary departures than
was true nationally (10 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 Port Isabel Service Processing Center had a similar proportion of detainees from Mexico - 52 percent among their exits.
Detainees from Mexico were also the largest single nationality group among those leaving detention from the facility.
Table 4: Numbers leaving ICE detention by nationality
|| 80.6 %
|| 86.0 %
|| 91.4 %
|| 89.5 %
|| 91.8 %
|| 88.3 %
|| 68.2 %
|| 1.2 %
|| 88.3 %
|| 35.5 %
|| 46.3 %
during the last 12 months
In descending order,
the other top nationalities after Mexico that made up those leaving ICE detention
from the Port Isabel Service Processing Center last year were:
El Salvador (14%), Honduras (9%), Nicaragua (3%) and Brazil (2%).
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%).
Figure 3: Nationality of those
leaving ICE detention
For the frequency for each of the other nationalities within the top 10 among those leaving ICE detention from the Port Isabel Service Processing 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
varied from 1 percent to 92 percent.
As mentioned above, this compares with 81 percent for all detainees.
With the highest rate of 92 percent were detainees from Nicaragua where 110 individuals were deported or took voluntary departure.
At the other end of the range were detainees from Cuba, where 1 percent ended up deported or were allowed voluntary departure.