On a typical work day Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) took 1,509 individuals into custody, according to the latest available ICE data from November and December 2012. During weekends, the volume of detentions decreased to an average of 471 people a day placed in ICE custody. This means that nearly 8,500 individuals were picked up across the country and detained by ICE during a typical week. If activity levels continue at this pace, ICE will detain around 400,000 individuals during the current fiscal year.
This report focuses on where these individuals were first detained by ICE based on their initial custody locations. Seven out of every ten individuals were originally detained in states along the southwest border with Mexico. Three states head the list: Texas (37% of detainees), Arizona (17% of detainees) and California (15% of detainees). Florida and Georgia were the two non-border states with the most individuals detained by ICE, but weekly numbers for each of these states were much lower — between 200 and 250 ICE detainees out of 8,500 each week for the nation as a whole. Six additional states had the next highest levels of enforcement activity — New York, Louisiana, Virginia, Illinois, Washington and Colorado. For these states, between 100 and 200 individuals were picked up and detained by ICE in a typical week.
The following figures shed light on where individuals entered ICE custody in these states and across the rest of the country. These figures are based upon very current case-by-case ICE records — covering November and December 2012 — obtained by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University under the Freedom of Information Act. TRAC sought a great deal more data from ICE which it has not received. But even the limited data available at this point paints a portrait of recent ICE activity throughout the nation.
Table 1 provides a state-by-state breakdown of the total of 66,278 individuals who entered ICE custody during November and December of 2012. ICE has not yet released information on where these individuals were initially apprehended. State location is therefore based on where ICE recorded the person entered its custody. Presumably this location would for most situations be close to where the individual was arrested.
Table 1. State of Initial ICE Custody, November-December 2012Almost every state showed some ICE activity. However, the number of individuals taken into ICE custody varied widely, depending on location. At one extreme was Texas, where 24,811 entered ICE custody — as noted earlier, accounting for more than one out of every three detainees in the country. At the other extreme were twelve states — in addition to the District of Columbia, Guam, Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands — that had around ten or fewer individuals per week who were detained. This added up in each state to fewer than 100 detainees over this two-month period. Alaska and Montana at the bottom end each had only six individuals placed in ICE custody during these two months. Two states — Rhode Island and Mississippi — recorded no detainees.
(click to open in separate window)
Table 2 provides a more detailed listing by the specific initial ICE custody location organized by state. Many of these locations were temporary ICE holding facilities. Individuals were first processed at these locations and then deported, released, or transferred to more permanent detention facilities. Another report in this series is under preparation that will analyze how often these various outcomes occurred.
Table 2. Initial ICE Custody Location, November-December 2012
(click to open in separate window)
The Florence Staging Facility in Arizona was the initial custody location for the largest number of ICE detainees in the nation — 7,650. In second place was the Brooks County Jail in Falfurrias, Texas with 4,615. In third place was the Rio Grande Valley Staging Facility in Texas with 4,556. The Laredo Contract Detention Facility with 2,022 was in fourth place, followed by the San Diego District Staging Facility with 1,857 detainees. These five locations accounted for nearly one-third (31%) of the individuals who entered ICE custody.
Listed in Table 2 are the 392 separate locations recorded as the initial ICE custody facility during November and December 2012. However, fully half of all detainees in the country were first detained by ICE at just fourteen of these locations, each of which is located in either Arizona, California or Texas.
Detention Numbers Along the Southwest Border
Along the southwest border, ICE further divides the region into administrative docket control offices, or DCOs. Table 3 provides a breakdown of the location individuals were first placed in ICE custody according to the city where the ICE's administrative docket control office was located. The state shown was that of the actual detention location, since sometimes a DCO covers an area that crosses state lines.
Table 3. Southwest Border Area for Initial ICE Custody, November-December 2012
(click to open in separate window)
For the four states bordering Mexico, almost one out of every four individuals picked up — 11,150 — were first placed in custody under the Port Isabel, Texas DCO's authority. The next highest total (7,745) was recorded by the Florence, Arizona DCO, followed by the Laredo, Texas DCO with 3,388 detainees.
No location in New Mexico recorded many initial ICE pick-ups. While a border state, only 568 individuals — less than one percent of the national total — were recorded as first detained in New Mexico. Of these, 453 were picked up in the regions surrounding Albuquerque, and 112 were under El Paso's DCO.
It is important to note that if Customs and Border Protection apprehends someone and immediately deports that individual, he or she will not show up in the statistics reported here. This is because these individuals were never detained long enough to be turned over to ICE for custody. These figures also exclude individuals picked up in other regions of the country and transferred to ICE detention facilities located along the southwest border. Here we are focusing only on the initial ICE custody location.
 Holiday periods such as around Thanksgiving and Christmas saw lower activity.
The distinction between place of arrest and the location where an individual entered ICE custody could determine which state gets credit for apprehensions along a border between two states. This could also explain why a small state such as Rhode Island did not show up as having a single individual detained. A person arrested in Rhode Island might easily have been booked into an ICE custody location out-of-state. It is harder to understand why Mississippi — the only other state with no detainees — did not show up in these data.