Detainees Leaving ICE Detention from the
South Texas Contract Detention Facility
Table 1: Number leaving ICE detention
|top 1 %
from this facility
During the most recent 12 month period for which data are available, a total of 17,630 detainees housed
at the South Texas Contract Detention Facility 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 under a contract with The GEO Group, Inc. 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 78 percent of
the 22,485 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 22 percent remained in ICE detention but were transferred from the South Texas Contract Detention Facility 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 South Texas Contract Detention Facility 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
South Texas Contract Detention Facility last year ranked in the top 1 percent nationwide in
the number of individuals leaving ICE detention.
This means that 1 percent of the locations contributed the same or a
larger numbers of exits, while 99
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 (91 percent) left the country from the South Texas Contract Detention Facility 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 South Texas Contract Detention Facility numbers
were down by 12 percent.
During the April 2006-March 2007 period the facility processed 19,925 "exits" as compared with 17,630 last year.
As detailed in Table 1, numbers last year were however up greatly as compared with the number of those leaving
ICE detention (578) during FY 2005.
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 South Texas Contract Detention Facility 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
|| 41 %
|| 86 %
|| 84 %
|| 76 %
this facility over the last decade
Exit trends are also summarized by fiscal year in Table 2.
Year-by-year figures for the South Texas Contract Detention Facility 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 South Texas Contract Detention Facility was the first ICE facility in which
these detainees were held.
According to ICE records, for a substantial proportion (32 percent) of these detainees, the South Texas Contract Detention Facility
was the first place they were sent when they were detained by ICE.
The remaining 68 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 37 percent arrived at the South Texas Contract Detention Facility 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 11 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 South Texas Contract Detention Facility on average had stayed at somewhat more (2.1) ICE facilities.
Table 3: Reasons individuals left ICE detention during the last 12 months
|| 87.8 %
|| 71.6 %
|| 7.6 %
|| 7.8 %
|| 2.9 %
|| 9.6 %
|| 0.7 %
|| 1.6 %
|| 0.3 %
|| 3.4 %
|| 0.3 %
|| 4.9 %
|| 0.0 %
|| 0.2 %
|| 0.0 %
|| 0.0 %
|| 0.0 %
|| 0.6 %
|| 0.0 %
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 South Texas Contract Detention Facility
was that they were deported.
A total of 15,494 individuals (88 percent) were deported or removed from the South Texas Contract Detention Facility 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 (1,353 or 8 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.
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 513 detainees (3 percent) left the South Texas Contract Detention Facility last year as voluntary departures.
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 139 individuals, or 1 percent were released from detention by the South Texas Contract Detention Facility
because a determination was made that there were no grounds
to deport the individuals and thus ICE had to release them from custody.
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 as dying last year at the South Texas Contract Detention Facility, but there was one escape.
Over the past decade, one escape was recorded from this facility, but no deaths.
Figure 2: Reasons individuals left ICE detention
Comparing Release Reasons Against The National Picture
In many respects release reasons for the South Texas Contract Detention Facility departed from the national picture.
It was the case that a higher proportion left because they were deported from
this facility (88 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 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 South Texas Contract Detention Facility had a much smaller proportion of detainees from Mexico - 19 percent among their exits.
Detainees from Mexico were not the largest single nationality group among those leaving detention from the facility.
Table 4: Numbers leaving ICE detention by nationality
|| 90.7 %
|| 98.9 %
|| 94.9 %
|| 89.4 %
|| 88.3 %
|| 8.7 %
|| 82.5 %
|| 91.0 %
|| 14.2 %
|| 0.0 %
|| 88.7 %
during the last 12 months
In descending order,
the top nationalities that made up those leaving ICE detention from the South Texas Contract Detention Facility last year were:
, Mexico (19%), Nicaragua (4%), Guatemala (3%) and China (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 South Texas Contract Detention Facility 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 0 percent to 99 percent.
As mentioned above, this compares with 91 percent for all detainees.
With the highest rate of 99 percent were detainees from Honduras where 10,917 individuals were deported or took voluntary departure.
At the other end of the range were detainees from Eritrea, where none ended up deported or were allowed voluntary departure.