Putting TRAC to Work
  Policy and Public Interest Groups
Niskanen Center
March 30, 2021

U.S. Capacity on the Southern Border
By Emily Van Fossen, Monica Leung

Once in custody, migrants apprehended at the border are kept in station holding cells — temporary detention facilities — before being transferred to a long-term detention location. The administration rushed to organize temporary facilities along the U.S.-Mexico border as apprehensions and arrests surged. Texas’ converted warehouse facility became infamous when pictures were leaked showing chain-link fences separating children from their families. Later, the Obama administration implemented Expedited Removal (ER), which immediately removed undocumented immigrants apprehended at or near the border. Those subjected to ER were temporarily detained in facilities on the border and deported without due process. The 2014-2015 surge brought about a notable demographic shift as Central American migrants surpassed the number of Mexican migrants. Figure 1 below, based on data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), notes the percentage of immigration court filings involving Central American nationals and Mexican nationals starting in 2005.

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, Syracuse University
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