Number of Detained Migrants Increases; Number of Migrants on ATD Decreases
(29 Feb 2024) The number of detained immigrants has increased by over 45 percent over the last calendar year, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). By contrast, the number of individuals enrolled in the Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program has decreased by 37 percent. As of late February 2024, nearly 185,000 families and single individuals are enrolled in ATD, a drop from 293,000 enrolled at this time in 2023. About 39,000 individuals are currently detained, up from 27,000 last year.

Costs associated with detaining immigrants are much greater than any of the monitoring systems implemented under ATD. Based on ICE’s budget justification, it costs about $157 to detain an adult immigrant for one day. ATD monitoring technologies vary in cost and sophistication, but based on current ATD enrollment figures, it costs about $1.13 per day to monitor a single enrollee, or less than 1 percent of the cost of detention. However, the ability for ICE to monitor many more immigrants on ATD than they hold in detention, also means that ATD’s total daily costs exceed $200,000 per day—less than detention costs, but not insubstantial.

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

  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement held 39,175 in ICE detention according to data current as of February 25, 2024.
  • 26,339 out of 39,175—or 67.2%—held in ICE detention have no criminal record, according to data current as of February 25, 2024. Many more have only minor offenses, including traffic violations.
  • ICE relied on detention facilities in Texas to house the most people during FY 2024, according to data current as of February 20, 2024.
  • ICE arrested 6,510 and CBP arrested 14,025 of the 20,535 people booked into detention by ICE during January 2024.
  • South Texas Fam Residential Center in Dilley, Texas held the largest number of ICE detainees so far in FY 2024, averaging 1,845 per day (as of February 2024).
  • ICE Alternatives to Detention (ATD) programs are currently monitoring 184,601 families and single individuals, according to data current as of February 24, 2024.
  • San Francisco's area office has highest number in ICE's Alternatives to Detention (ATD) monitoring programs, according to data current as of February 24, 2024.

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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