Migrants Under ICE's Alternatives to Detention Move Away From Border Areas
(03 Mar 2023) ICE posted updates to its detention data twice this week: first on Tuesday and then again today. The data show a consistent downward trend in the number of migrants ICE is monitoring under its Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program, now down 22 percent since December 31, 2022. The ICE area offices responsible have also shifted with communities along the Mexico-US border seeing the largest declines while some other communities experienced ATD growth.

Three of ICE's Areas of Responsibility (AORs) in Texas saw declines. San Antonio saw the largest drop with 55 percent fewer individuals assigned to ATD, followed by a 47 percent drop for Harlingen and a 42 percent drop for El Paso. Phoenix, Arizona, and Los Angeles, California, also experienced declines of 30 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

In sharp contrast, four regions saw increasing ATD enrollments. ICE's AOR based in Miami led with an increase of 45 percent, followed by Chicago with 13 percent. Boston and Philadelphia each saw a 12 percent increase.

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 27,010 in ICE detention according to data current as of February 26, 2023.
  • 16,839 out of 27,010—or 62.3%—held in ICE detention have no criminal record, according to data current as of February 26, 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 February 21, 2023.
  • South Texas ICE Processing Center in Pearsall, Texas held the largest number of ICE detainees so far in FY 2023, averaging 1,346 per day (as of February 2023).
  • ICE Alternatives to Detention (ATD) programs are currently monitoring 293,167 families and single individuals, according to data current as of February 25, 2023.
  • Harlingen's area office still has highest number in ICE's Alternatives to Detention (ATD) monitoring programs, according to data current as of February 25, 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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