Number of Immigrants on ICE's Alternatives to Detention Declines, Though Quality of These Data Remain in Question
(20 Jan 2023) After two years of steady growth of ICE’s Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program, the total population on ATD declined in two weeks by more than 20,000—from 376,030 down to 355,140—since December 31, 2022. The total number of migrants tracked using various technologies declined somewhat: GPS numbers declined from 6,508 to 6,123, telephonic reporting declined from 15,645 to 15,278, and SmartLINK declined 296,041 to 290,317. But the most significant decline in ATD population reflects a decline in migrants on ATD but listed as “no tech”; these numbers declined from 57,837 to 43,422, a decline of 14,415.

Note that these numbers only reflect totals at two different points in time, not the total number of people who may have cycled through the program. As TRAC previously showed, using data provided to TRAC by ICE through the FOIA process, the total number of people currently in the program does not necessarily capture the turn-over of population that are enrolled and disenrolled in the ATD program. These numbers also do not capture ICE’s decisions to shift individuals between these technologies (e.g. taking someone off of GPS ankle monitoring and monitoring them using SmartLINK).

A word of caution: TRAC urges caution when using and interpreting these data since ICE has admitted to producing public errors in this dataset, has not issued corrections to that data, and has further admitted, in responses to FOIA requests, to not being able to find underlying records to substantiate the agency’s public data announcements. See TRAC’s previous reports on December 14, 2022, December 23, 2022, and January 9, 2023.

Highlights from data updated in TRAC's Quick Fact tool show that:

  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement held 20,892 in ICE detention according to data current as of January 15, 2023.

  • 11,710 out of 20,892—or 56.1%—held in ICE detention have no criminal record, according to data current as of January 15, 2023. Many more have only minor offenses, including traffic violations.

  • ICE relied on detention facilities in Texas to house the most people during FY 2023, according to data current as of January 9, 2023.

  • ICE arrested 5,950 and CBP arrested 11,679 of the 17,629 people booked into detention by ICE during December 2022.

  • South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas held the largest number of ICE detainees so far in FY 2023, averaging 1,477 per day (as of January 2023).

  • ICE Alternatives to Detention (ATD) programs are currently monitoring 355,140 families and single individuals, according to data current as of January 14, 2023.

  • Harlingen's area office has highest number in ICE's Alternatives to Detention (ATD) monitoring programs, according to data current as of January 14, 2023.

For more information, see TRAC's Quick Facts tools here or click here to learn more about TRAC's entire suite of immigration tools.

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