Detainees Leaving ICE Detention from the
Houston Contract Detention Facility
Table 1: Number leaving ICE detention
from this facility
During the most recent 12 month period for which data are available, a total of 11,407 detainees housed
at the Houston 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 Corrections Corporation of America 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 16,260 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 Houston 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 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 Houston Contract Detention Facility 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
Houston Contract Detention Facility last year ranked in the top 2 percent nationwide in
the number of individuals leaving ICE detention.
This means that 2 percent of the locations contributed the same or a
larger numbers of exits, while 98
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 higher percentage of detainees (82 percent) left
the country from the Houston Contract Detention Facility 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 Houston Contract Detention Facility was the first ICE facility in which
these detainees were held.
According to ICE records, for a substantial proportion (36 percent) of these detainees, the Houston Contract Detention Facility
was the first place they were sent when they were detained by ICE.
The remaining 64 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 87 percent arrived at the Houston 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 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 Houston Contract Detention Facility on average had stayed at somewhat fewer (1.7)
Table 3: Reasons individuals left ICE detention during the last 12 months
|| 81.4 %
|| 55.3 %
|| 7.3 %
|| 11.0 %
|| 4.6 %
|| 4.5 %
|| 2.1 %
|| 0.2 %
|| 1.5 %
|| 1.3 %
|| 1.3 %
|| 19.8 %
|| 0.7 %
|| 5.2 %
|| 0.4 %
|| 1.0 %
|| 0.2 %
|| 0.9 %
|| 0.0 %
|| 0.1 %
|| 0.0 %
|| 0.0 %
|| 0.1 %
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.
As mentioned earlier, the most common reason detainees left the Houston Contract Detention Facility
was that they were deported.
A total of 9,294 individuals (81 percent) were deported or removed from the Houston 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 (838 or 7 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 532 individuals (5 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.
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 242 individuals (2 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.
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 179 individuals, or 2 percent were released from detention by the Houston 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.
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 155 (1 percent) who left the Houston Contract Detention Facility detention for these reasons: 22 with orders
of recognizance, and 133 with orders of supervision.
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
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 89 individuals (1 percent) who were paroled from this facility.
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 Houston Contract Detention Facility as either escaping or dying last year.
As shown in Table 3, no one was recorded as leaving the Houston Contract Detention Facility during the past 12 months for the following
Release to ORR. 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 Houston Contract Detention Facility departed from the national picture.
It was the case that a higher proportion left because they were deported from
this facility (81 percent) than was true for the U.S. as a whole (55 percent).
In addition, differences were seen for individuals released on bond (7
versus 11 percent), detainees released on orders of recognizance or supervision (1
versus 20 percent), and for those paroled (1
versus 5 percent).
The facility's percentages fell within 3 percentage points of the national figures for all other categories.
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 Houston Contract Detention Facility had a much larger proportion of detainees from Mexico - 76 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 Houston Contract Detention Facility last year were:
El Salvador (6%), Honduras (4%), Guatemala (3%) and Nicaragua (2%).
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 among those leaving ICE detention from the Houston 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 17 percent to 92 percent.
As mentioned above, this compares with 82 percent for all detainees.
Table 4: Numbers leaving ICE detention by nationality
|| 81.6 %
|| 92.3 %
|| 43.6 %
|| 67.3 %
|| 66.5 %
|| 37.7 %
|| 57.9 %
|| 17.4 %
|| 47.3 %
|| 64.0 %
|| 20.0 %
during the last 12 months
With the highest rate of 92 percent were detainees from Mexico where 8,639 individuals were deported or took voluntary departure.
At the other end of the range were detainees from Ecuador, where 17 percent ended up deported or were allowed voluntary departure.