Detainees Leaving ICE Detention from the
Atlanta District Office Holding Room
Atlanta, Georgia

Detainees Deported or Released
Number last 12 months 1,172
Out of total detained 3,943
Facility ranking on detainees top 14 %

Table 1: Number leaving ICE detention
from this facility

During the most recent 12 month period for which data are available, a total of 1,172 detainees housed at the Atlanta District Office Holding Room 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 is a special ICE holding area or staging location that under current ICE detention standards is allowed to temporarily house aliens for up to 12 or 16 hours. These types of units generally have no sleeping quarters or shower facilities.

Those individuals who departed from this facility because they were leaving ICE detention made up 30 percent of the 3,943 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 others remained in ICE detention but were transferred from the Atlanta District Office Holding Room 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 1.7 million government records tracking each individual who passed through an ICE detention facility during fiscal year 2015. This most recent 12 month period for which comprehensive data are available covers October 2014 through September 2015. See About the Data.

How This Facility Ranks Nationally

Rankings on the number leaving ICE detention. The Atlanta District Office Holding Room was one of 637 facilities nationwide that housed ICE detainees during the most recent 12 month period. Of these 637, there were 358 that had at least 10 individuals who were deported or released. Excluding those facilities with fewer than 10 exits, the Atlanta District Office Holding Room last year ranked in the top 14 percent nationwide in the number of individuals leaving ICE detention. This means that 14 percent of the locations contributed the same or a larger numbers of exits, while 86 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 56.3 percent of those leaving ICE detention were deported or "voluntarily" departed. By way of comparison, a lower percentage of detainees (52 percent) left the country from the Atlanta District Office Holding Room because they were formally deported, or left under the so-called "voluntary departure" procedure.

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 Atlanta District Office Holding Room was the first ICE facility in which these detainees were held. According to ICE records, for some (13 percent) of these detainees, the Atlanta District Office Holding Room was the first place they were sent when they were detained by ICE. The remaining 87 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 13 percent arrived at the Atlanta District Office Holding Room 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 8 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 average number of ICE facilities detainees moved through was 1.8. Detainees at the Atlanta District Office Holding Room on average had stayed at somewhat more (2.7) ICE facilities.

Reason Left ICE Facility Profile U.S Profile
Number Percent Percent
Deported/Removed 371 31.6 % 55.3 %
U.S. Marshal or Other Agency 278 23.7 % 4.5 %
Voluntary departure 236 20.1 % 0.9 %
Orders of Recognizance or Supervision 230 19.6 % 19.8 %
Alternative ATD custody 30 2.5 % 0.1 %
Paroled 8 0.6 % 5.2 %
Prosecutorial Discretion 7 0.5 % 1.0 %
Bonded out 5 0.4 % 11.0 %
Proceedings Terminated 5 0.4 % 1.3 %
Withdrawal 2 0.1 % 0.2 %
Died 0 . 0.0 %
Escaped 0 . 0.0 %
Release to ORR 0 . 0.1 %
Total 1,172 100.0 % 100.0 %

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

Why Did Detainees Leave ICE Detention?

ICE records one of 29 reasons a detainee left ICE detention. As shown in Table 3, these reasons fall into 13 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 Atlanta District Office Holding Room was that they were deported. A total of 371 individuals (32 percent) were deported or removed from the Atlanta District Office Holding Room 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.)

Transferred to criminal custody. A total of 278 individuals (24 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 departures" or "voluntary returns." 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 and voluntary return the individual is not legally barred from reentry. An additional 236 detainees (20 percent) left the Atlanta District Office Holding Room last year as voluntary departures and voluntary returns.

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 230 (20 percent) who left the Atlanta District Office Holding Room detention for these reasons: 105 with orders of recognizance, and 125 with orders of supervision.

Alternative ATD custody. A total of 30 individuals (3 percent) were released from detention under an "ATD" monitoring arrangement. Under ICE's "alternatives to detention" or ATD program, the individual while not detained typically has to wear an electronic ankle monitor and report regularly under a closely supervised release arrangement.

Parole. ICE also has discretionary authority to "parole" individuals and give them temporary entry into the country, often on humanitarian grounds. Individuals with serious medical conditions, pregnant women, and certain juveniles are among the categories considered. Other categories are individuals who will serve as witnesses in judicial or administrative proceedings, and individuals whose parole is considered by ICE in the "public interest." There were a total of 8 individuals (1 percent) who were paroled from this facility.

Prosecutorial discretion. The Department of Homeland Security sets immigration enforcement priorities and guidance on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion (PD), including special programs on deferred action for childhood arrivals. To focus its limited resources on higher priority targets, individuals that don't fall into these high priority categories may -- through the exercise of prosecutorial discretion -- be released from custody and any proposed deportation actions deferred. A total of 7 individuals (1 percent) were released under these PD programs.

Escape and death. Nationally, there were 65 individuals who escaped ICE detention during the latest 12 month period for which data are available, and 6 individuals were recorded as having died in detention. No one was recorded by the Atlanta District Office Holding Room as either escaping or dying last year.

As shown in Table 3, no one was recorded as leaving the Atlanta District Office Holding Room during the past 12 months for the following reasons: Release to ORR. 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 Atlanta District Office Holding Room departed from the national picture. It was the case that a lower proportion left because they were deported from this facility (32 percent) than was true for the U.S. as a whole (55 percent). A higher proportion (20 percent) left this facility as voluntary departures than was true nationally (1 percent).

In addition, differences were seen for those released to the U.S. Marshal or other agency (24 versus 5 percent), for those paroled (1 versus 5 percent), and individuals released on bond (0 versus 11 percent).

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

Pie chart of nat

Figure 3: Nationality of those
leaving ICE detention


Which nationalities predominate? Last year in the United States, individuals from Mexico comprised the largest number of those leaving ICE detention. Some 43.4 percent of all detainees recorded Mexico as their country of origin. The Atlanta District Office Holding Room had a smaller proportion of detainees from Mexico - 37 percent among their exits. Detainees from Mexico were also the largest single nationality group among those leaving detention from the facility.

In descending order, the other top nationalities after Mexico that made up those leaving ICE detention from the Atlanta District Office Holding Room last year were: Guatemala (7%), Honduras (5%), Brazil (4%) and Nigeria (4%).

This compared to the United States as a whole where the other top five nationalities after Mexico were Guatemala (19%), El Salvador (15%), Honduras (12%) and Ecuador (1%).

For the frequency for each of the other nationalities within the top 10 among those leaving ICE detention from the Atlanta District Office Holding Room 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 16 percent to 100 percent. As mentioned above, this compares with 52 percent for all detainees.

Nationalities Ranked in Top 10 Left ICE Detention
Total Deported/
- ALL 1,172 607 51.7 %
1 Mexico 430 186 43.2 %
2 Guatemala 77 25 32.4 %
3 Honduras 62 10 16.1 %
4 Brazil 44 43 97.7 %
5 Nigeria 43 13 30.2 %
6 El Salvador 40 19 47.5 %
7 Peru 38 37 97.3 %
8 Bahamas 20 20 100.0 %
9 Romania 19 16 84.2 %
10 Colombia 18 12 66.6 %
India 18 16 88.8 %

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

With the highest rate of 100 percent were detainees from Bahamas where all individuals were deported or took voluntary departure. At the other end of the range were detainees from Honduras, where 16 percent ended up deported or were allowed voluntary departure.

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