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ICE Detention Reform

March 6, 2013

Author: Immigration lawyer Alena Shautsova

Immigration and Customs Enforcement ICE detention reform has come under scrutiny by both camps ― proponents who seek stricter reform and proponents who seek more lenient reform. ICE has taken steps to reform immigration detention and published a list of its detention reform accomplishments.

One undeniable fact is that immigration detention is an expensive operation. National Immigration Forum reported that for the fiscal year 2013 (beginning October 1, 2012), the White House requested $1.959 billion for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) custody operations, which are funds used for immigration detention. The amount breaks down into $5.4 million per day and the costs for detaining individual immigrants are $164 per day. These funds cover 32,800 detention beds.

Recently, prosecutorial discretion has shifted the focus on detention and removal of criminals. ICE 2012 statistics show that 55 percent (225,390) of immigrants removed were convicted of crimes. The statistic indicates the largest number of criminal immigrant removals in U.S. history and is close to double the number of criminal removals in 2008.

Some advocates believe that electronic ankle bracelets, telephonic reporting, home visits, curfews, in-person reporting and other detention alternatives would be less costly and more humane for detainees who do not pose a threat to society.

Like other areas of immigration, detention is subject to reform and debates are ongoing.

If you or a loved one is subject to detention, consult a New York immigration lawyer so you can protect your rights and find out about legal recourse.