ICE Detention Returns to Pre-COVID Pandemic Levels
(26 Sep 2023) According to the latest data released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency is now detaining more than 35,000 individuals, the first time it has hit that threshold since the beginning of the COVID pandemic in the United States in March 2020. The population detained who were originally arrested by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) continues to increase, from 23,119 at the end of August, to a September population of 25,362. By contrast, the detained population of those arrested by ICE remained relatively unchanged, going from 9,624 to 9,672 over the same time period.

About 197,500 migrants are monitored under one of the technologies of ATD, up from 196,000 at the end of August. Over 175,000 migrants are monitored by SmartLINK and another 10,768 are tracked via GPS—the two most common types of ATD technology. Notably, ICE now reports a new category of technology called “Dual Technology”. The agency does not provide a definition for dual technology, but it might reflect those immigrants who are monitored on both GPS ankle monitors and SmartLINK phones. This inference is possible when considering the daily cost of the technologies that ICE published with its detention data. The daily cost per person for Dual Technology is $3.70. This represents the combined total of the daily cost per person on SmartLINK ($0.96) and on GPS ankle monitors ($2.74).

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

  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement held 35,589 in ICE detention according to data current as of September 10, 2023.

  • 24,635 out of 35,589—or 69.2%—held in ICE detention have no criminal record, according to data current as of September 10, 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 September 4, 2023.

  • ICE arrested 7,131 and CBP arrested 21,979 of the 29,110 people booked into detention by ICE during August 2023.

  • South Texas ICE Processing Center in Pearsall, Texas held the largest number of ICE detainees so far in FY 2023, averaging 1,274 per day (as of September 4, 2023).

  • ICE Alternatives to Detention (ATD) programs are currently monitoring 197,490 families and single individuals, according to data current as of September 9, 2023.

  • San Francisco's area office has highest number in ICE's Alternatives to Detention (ATD) monitoring programs, according to data current as of September 9, 2023.

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

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