Transfers of ICE Detainees from the
Val Verde Detention Center
Del Rio, Texas

Detainees Transferred
Number last 12 months 4,168
Out of total detained 4,280
Facility ranking on transfers top 6 %

Table 1: Transfers

During the most recent 12 month period for which data are available, a total of 4,168 detainees were transferred by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from the Val Verde Detention Center where they had been temporarily housed to other facilities. The average stay for these individuals before their transfer was one day. 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. While the facility is government owned, it is operated by the The GEO Group, Inc. that was in the business of providing detention services for housing federal detainees.

Transfers made up 97 percent of the 4,280 detainees who in one way or another left this facility during the last 12 months. This report focuses just on these transfers. The remaining individuals who departed from the Val Verde Detention Center last year actually left ICE detention. These individuals were deported from the country, released under supervision while their cases was being decided, or left ICE detention for a variety of other reasons. For more information on this facility please 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

Detainee transfer rankings. The Val Verde Detention Center was one of 637 facilities nationwide that housed ICE detainees during the most recent 12 month period. Of these 637, there were 409 facilities that had at least 10 ICE detainee transfers last year. Excluding those facilities with fewer than 10 transfers, the Val Verde Detention Center last year ranked in the top 6 percent nationwide in the number of individuals it transferred to other ICE facilities. This means that 6 percent of the locations contributed the same or a larger numbers of transfers, while 94 percent had a smaller number. See Table 1.

Average length of stay before transfer. Once detainees arrived at the Val Verde Detention Center their average length of stay before being transferred on to another ICE facility was one day last year. Ranking facilities from longest to shortest detention stays for their transfer population, this average of one day placed Val Verde Detention Center in the top 70 percent of all facilities nationwide. That is, for detainees who are transferred, 70 percent of ICE detention facilities have the same or longer average stays last year, while 30 percent of detention facilities had shorter average stays.

Origins and Destinations

Were these detainees arrested locally? Where did those that ended up being transferred from the Val Verde Detention Center last year originate? Information on the place of arrest was not included in the available data ICE released. However, we can examine whether the Val Verde Detention Center was the first ICE facility in which these detainees were held. According to ICE records, for all these detainees, the Val Verde Detention Center was the first place they were sent when they were detained by ICE. The remaining 0 percent had been transferred in from another ICE detention facility.

How soon did transfers occur? Nationally, the median number of days before an ICE detainee is transferred to another facility was 1 days last year. That means that half of all transfers occurred on or before the 1st day, while half had longer stays before they were transferred on to another ICE facility. Note that nationally the average stay at an ICE detention facility before an individual is transferred is longer - 12 days. This is because while most detainees have relatively short stays before ICE transfers them elsewhere, sometimes stays are lengthy and these lengthy stays raise the average to above the median stay.

For the Val Verde Detention Center last year, the median stay before a detainee was transferred was one day. This is the same as the national figure. The average stay before transfers occurred was the same - one day - than the median stay. As noted above, this figure placed the facility in the top 70 percent among ICE detention facilities nationwide in the average number of days a detainee spent before he or she was transferred.

Pie chart of diffDCO

Figure 2: Transfer destinations during last 12 months

Where did those transferred get sent? ICE currently has great discretion about where in the United States transferred detainees are sent. For the period covered by these data, ICE divided the country into geographic regions or areas and assigned each to one of 152 document control offices or DCOs for the purpose of keeping track of detainees. Available data allow us to examine whether the transfer occurred within the same DCO or the transfer was to a different DCO. For the nation as a whole during the latest 12 months, 54 percent were within the same DCO, while the remaining 46 percent were to a different DCO.

Transfers Facility Profile U.S Overall
Profile (%)
Number Percent
Within region (DCO) 15 0.4% 54%
Outside region (DCO) 4,155 100% 46%
Total 4,170 100% 100%

Table 3: Transfer destinations during last 12 months

Figure 2 and accompanying Table 3 provide some comparative figures for how the Val Verde Detention Center stacks up against this national pattern. Last year, virtually none of the transfers from the Val Verde Detention Center were to locations in the same region -- facilities under the control of same ICE docket control office. Virtually all of the transfers went to detention facilities in a different region (DCO).


Which nationalities predominate? Last year in the United States, individuals from Mexico comprised the largest number of those transferred by ICE. Some 41.3 percent of all transfers recorded Mexico as their country of origin. The Val Verde Detention Center had a much smaller proportion of detainees from Mexico - 4 percent - among their transfers. Detainees from Mexico were not the largest single nationality group among the transfers at the facility.

Pie chart of nat

Figure 3: Transfers by nationality

In descending order, the top nationalities that made up transfers from the Val Verde Detention Center last year were: Honduras (34%) , Guatemala (31%), El Salvador (28%), Mexico (4%) and Nicaragua (1%).

For the frequency for each of the nationalities within the top 10 among transfers from the Val Verde Detention Center last year see Table 4.

Nationalities Ranked in Top 10 Transfers
Total To Diff. DCO % Diff DCO
- ALL 4,170 4,155 99.6 %
1 Honduras 1,417 1,414 99.8 %
2 Guatemala 1,286 1,279 99.5 %
3 El Salvador 1,168 1,163 99.6 %
4 Mexico 146 146 100.0 %
5 Nicaragua 61 61 100.0 %
6 Brazil 28 28 100.0 %
7 Ecuador 21 21 100.0 %
8 Peru 11 11 100.0 %
9 Colombia 9 9 100.0 %
10 India 3 3 100.0 %

Table 4: Transfers by nationality
during the last 12 months

Out-of-region transfers by nationality. Within the nationalities that made up those listed in Table 4, the proportion transferred out of the region didn't really vary. As mentioned above, virtually all detainees transferred from the Val Verde Detention Center were sent to detention locations outside the region.

More than one country was tied with the highest out-of-region transfer rates of 100 percent (see Table 4). At the other end of the range, 99 percent were out-of-region transfers for the 1,286 transfers from Guatemala.

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