New Data on 637 Detention Facilities Used by ICE in FY 2015

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention system depends on hundreds of jails, prisons, and other facilities largely owned as well as run by others — some by local government agencies and others by private, for-profit companies. Using beds in these facilities that are widely scattered across the country, ICE manages a large complex system with daily flows of individuals both into as well as out of ICE custody. In addition, an even larger number of individuals already in ICE custody are continually being transferred among these facilities.

A total of 325,209 individuals left ICE custody last year, while 39,082 were still detained at the end of FY 2015[1]. The reasons for which individuals were released from ICE custody varied markedly by detention facility. Nationally, the most common reason for leaving ICE custody was because a detainee was being deported; this reason was listed in 55 percent of recorded departures last year. The next largest group were detainees released on bond or on their personal recognizance while their cases were pending. Others were released because their cases had concluded and they had been found to have a lawful right to remain in the country.

According to detailed government records on each individual who entered, left, or remained in ICE custody during fiscal year 2015, the agency used a total of 637 different facilities last year. While many of these 637 detention facilities were concentrated along the southwest border with Mexico, one or more facilities existed in every one of the fifty states, as well as Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands. Some of these were temporary holding rooms, others were designed for long term stays. Some held only a single person on one occasion during the entire year, others had tens of thousands pass through their doors during this same period. For facilities on which daily costs were available in the records released by ICE, per diem rates ranged from as low as $30 per bed for a short-stay (under 72 hours) facility to a high of $168.84 per day, with lower rates for high volume usage.

This report presents an overview of ICE's custody system, and accompanies a series of reports covering each detention facility. The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) at Syracuse University developed the database on which these reports are based using the stay-by-stay records from each detention facility that at least one individual entered, left or stayed at during the past year. These detailed records were obtained by TRAC through Freedom of Information Act requests to ICE.

ICE Custody Usage by Facility and Operator Type

Table 1 summarizes the types of facilities ICE relied upon last year. While a total of 325,209 individuals left ICE custody last year, the total number of individuals "booked out" of ICE facilities during FY 2015 is a great deal larger: 699,268. The difference between these two figures represents the number of times individuals were transferred among facilities. All totaled, there were 374,059 recorded transfers among ICE facilities during FY 2015. Thus each detainee experienced, on average, at least one transfer to another facility.

Figure 1. Number of Times ICE Detainees Booked Out of a Detention Facility in FY 2015

Roughly one-third of these book-outs involved ICE holding or staging facilities — facilities generally designed for short-term stays. About five percent of the book-outs were from specialized facilities for housing juveniles, and one to two percent were a variety of other facilities including medical hospitals.

The remaining book-outs were from ICE Service Processing Centers (15%), privately owned Contract Detention Facilities (15%), and government owned detention facilities (28%) that ICE made use of through intergovernmental service agreements (IGSAs).

Table 1. Number of Times Detainees Booked Out by Type of ICE Detention Facility During FY 2015
Type of Facility** Number Booked Out Percent
Total Transfer* Departure* Total Transfer* Departure*
Total 699,268 374,059 325,209 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Holding/Staging Facility 248,485 141,367 107,118 35.5% 37.8% 32.9%
IGSA Facility 195,237 109,544 85,693 27.9% 29.3% 26.4%
ICE Service Processing Center 105,171 55,888 49,283 15.0% 14.9% 15.2%
Contract Detention Facility 104,821 53,127 51,694 15.0% 14.2% 15.9%
Juvenile Facility 33,944 3,053 30,891 4.9% 0.8% 9.5%
Other 9,616 9,344 272 1.4% 2.5% 0.1%
Federal Bureau of Prisons Facility 1,102 893 209 0.2% 0.2% 0.1%
Medical Facility 887 840 47 0.1% 0.2% 0.0%
U.S. Marshals Service Office 5 3 2 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
* Individuals could be booked out to "transfer" to another facility, or could be leaving ICE custody ("departure") when deported or released. For additional details, see Reasons for Departures from ICE Detention.
** For additional information about each facility type, see About the Data.

Figure 2. Proportion of Book-outs from Regular
ICE Detention Facilities in FY 2015

The role of private companies in this detention system was not limited to facilities owned by for-profit corporations. ICE as well as other government agencies frequently engage private companies to operate their detention facilities. About half of all book-outs during FY 2015 were from facilities operated by private corporations. Once facilities used as temporary holding or staging facilities were excluded, the proportion rises to almost three out of four (72%) for regular facilities. These figures may underestimate the actual role of private companies since ICE did not release current information on who operated many of the facilities it used under intergovernmental service agreements.

As shown in Table 2, the firms with the largest role based upon the volume of usage (book-outs) last year were The GEO Group, Inc. (15%), Corrections Corporations of America (10%), and the Ahtna Corporation (10%)[2]. ICE records identified fourteen different companies involved in the detention business, although most of these played much smaller roles than these three dominant companies.

Table 2. Number of Times Detainees Booked Out During FY 2015
by Type of ICE Detention Facility and Operator
Facility Operator Number Booked Out Percent
Facility Type Facility Type
Total Holding/Staging Regular Total Holding/Staging Regular
All 699,268 248,485 450,783 100% 100% 100%
Government operated 352,281 229,716 122,565 50% 92% 27%
Private company operated* 341,562 18,769 322,793 49% 8% 72%
The GEO Group, Inc. 102,384 18,769 83,615 15% 8% 19%
Corrections Corporation of America 68,087 0 68,087 10% 0% 15%
Ahtna Corporation 67,870 0 67,870 10% 0% 15%
Emerald Companies 23,839 0 23,839 3% 0% 5%
Management and Training Corporation 19,452 0 19,452 3% 0% 4%
Doyon Government Group — Akal Security 14,711 0 14,711 2% 0% 3%
Asset Protection and Security Services 9,722 0 9,722 1% 0% 2%
Community Education Centers 8,031 0 8,031 1% 0% 2%
MVM Transport 7,182 0 7,182 1% 0% 2%
Akal Security 6,603 0 6,603 1% 0% 1%
LaSalle Corrections 4,792 0 4,792 1% 0% 1%
Immigration Centers of America 3,337 0 3,337 0% 0% 1%
Ahtna Technical Services, Inc. 3,188 0 3,188 0% 0% 1%
Valley Metro Barbosa Group 2,364 0 2,364 0% 0% 1%
Operator not known 5,425 0 5,425 1% 0% 1%
* ICE provided incomplete information on the operator of facilities it used, so the number operated by private companies is likely to be underestimated. Information was particularly incomplete for operators of holding/staging facilities.

ICE Custody Usage by State

ICE did not release information on the city or county where an individual was apprehended. However, ICE records did indicate that more than half (55%) had been transferred to its custody from the Border Patrol. In contrast, an ICE detainer had been placed on just over one in ten (11%) before being taken into custody[3]. Very few (0.2%) had been picked up through a 287(g) program by which local law enforcement agents are authorized to help enforce immigration laws through a special agreement with ICE. While TRAC requested further details on how the individuals arrived in ICE custody, the records that the agency released provided few details on how the remaining one third came into its custody.

Records that TRAC obtained tracked individuals from the time they entered until they left ICE custody. Unless released quickly, once in ICE custody people were often transferred to other facilities based in part on the availability of beds or whether they were being prepared for deportation. Because many of the detention facilities ICE uses were located along the southwest border with Mexico, many transfers were to facilities located in these border states.

Table 3 summarizes detention book-outs by the location of facilities that served as transfer points. At the top of the list is Texas, which accounts for more than one out of three transfer facility book-outs (35.9%). This is lower, however, than the Texas facilities' share of the final book-outs; these detention facilities accounted for half (50.4%) of the occasions in which individuals left ICE custody because they were deported or released.

Arizona and New Mexico also served as a release point much more often than as a transfer point to a facility located in a different state. Arizona accounted for 8.7 percent of transfers but 11.8 percent of departures. New Mexico facilities accounted for 1.3 percent of transfers but 4.7 percent of departures.

California facilities, in contrast, were more often used as a transfer facility. While the southern end of the state borders Mexico, much of its territory does not. After Texas, facilities in that state were the second most frequently used as transfer points accounting for 18.6 percent of all transfer book-outs, but only 10.6 percent of those in which individuals left ICE custody.

As shown in Table 3, most states followed the California pattern, in which facilities more often served as transfer points rather than as the final destination before a person left ICE custody.

Table 3. Number of Times Detainees Booked Out of ICE Detention Facility During FY 2015 by State
(Click on a column header to sort)
State or Territory Number Booked Out Percent
Total Transfer* Departure* Total Transfer* Departure*
All 699,268 374,059 325,209 100.0% 100.0% 100.0%
Texas 298,242 134,432 163,810 42.7% 35.9% 50.4%
California 104,194 69,696 34,498 14.9% 18.6% 10.6%
Arizona 70,873 32,503 38,370 10.1% 8.7% 11.8%
Louisiana 37,683 18,806 18,877 5.4% 5.0% 5.8%
Florida 20,962 12,133 8,829 3.0% 3.2% 2.7%
New Mexico 20,119 4,788 15,331 2.9% 1.3% 4.7%
Georgia 19,936 12,430 7,506 2.9% 3.3% 2.3%
Illinois 19,144 15,303 3,841 2.7% 4.1% 1.2%
Virginia 10,391 7,794 2,597 1.5% 2.1% 0.8%
New York 10,212 5,024 5,188 1.5% 1.3% 1.6%
Pennsylvania 9,367 5,094 4,273 1.3% 1.4% 1.3%
Washington 7,398 4,908 2,490 1.1% 1.3% 0.8%
New Jersey 7,260 3,031 4,229 1.0% 0.8% 1.3%
Colorado 6,185 4,482 1,703 0.9% 1.2% 0.5%
Wisconsin 4,800 4,662 138 0.7% 1.2% 0.0%
South Carolina 3,966 3,749 217 0.6% 1.0% 0.1%
Michigan 3,402 1,852 1,550 0.5% 0.5% 0.5%
Minnesota 3,369 2,260 1,109 0.5% 0.6% 0.3%
Nevada 3,345 2,261 1,084 0.5% 0.6% 0.3%
Alabama 3,251 2,942 309 0.5% 0.8% 0.1%
Ohio 3,187 1,794 1,393 0.5% 0.5% 0.4%
Massachusetts 3,049 2,047 1,002 0.4% 0.5% 0.3%
Indiana 2,999 2,801 198 0.4% 0.7% 0.1%
North Carolina 2,989 2,763 226 0.4% 0.7% 0.1%
Utah 2,982 2,207 775 0.4% 0.6% 0.2%
Maryland 2,416 1,442 974 0.3% 0.4% 0.3%
Oklahoma 2,399 2,052 347 0.3% 0.5% 0.1%
Oregon 1,980 1,622 358 0.3% 0.4% 0.1%
Kentucky 1,967 1,364 603 0.3% 0.4% 0.2%
Nebraska 1,729 884 845 0.2% 0.2% 0.3%
Missouri 1,246 606 640 0.2% 0.2% 0.2%
Idaho 1,107 1,010 97 0.2% 0.3% 0.0%
Tennessee 1,058 990 68 0.2% 0.3% 0.0%
Puerto Rico 988 507 481 0.1% 0.1% 0.1%
Iowa 854 650 204 0.1% 0.2% 0.1%
New Hampshire 807 611 196 0.1% 0.2% 0.1%
Arkansas 602 567 35 0.1% 0.2% 0.0%
Kansas 595 245 350 0.1% 0.1% 0.1%
North Dakota 503 456 47 0.1% 0.1% 0.0%
West Virginia 368 356 12 0.1% 0.1% 0.0%
Delaware 286 272 14 0.0% 0.1% 0.0%
Wyoming 237 195 42 0.0% 0.1% 0.0%
Hawaii 217 7 210 0.0% 0.0% 0.1%
South Dakota 132 125 7 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Montana 99 83 16 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Vermont 92 83 9 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Connecticut 79 33 46 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Maine 77 72 5 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Guam 63 7 56 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Virgin Islands 31 29 2 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Alaska 24 23 1 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Northern Mariana Isl 5 5 0 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Mississippi 1 0 1 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Rhode Island 1 1 0 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
* Individuals could be booked out to "transfer" to another facility, or they may leave ICE custody ("departure") when they are deported or released.

Facility by Facility Details

TRAC has compiled detailed reports on each of the 637 detention facilities that ICE used last year, covering each facility's use as a transfer point and as a final destination. Each report provides a wealth of details on when and where individuals first entered ICE custody, their length of stay at the facility, and the reasons they left ICE custody from that facility. In addition, a customizable listing provides the names of each facility and how many individuals were detained there last year, and provides the means to compare facilities of different types and in particular states. When per diem rates charged at the facility were released by ICE, these daily rates that ICE paid are also given.

The sections that follow present highlights on the facilities that saw the most individuals during fiscal year 2015.

Individuals Transferred — Top 25 Facilities

Based on their use as transfer points, the top 25 facilities that ICE most frequently used are shown in Table 4. Note that the number of book-outs of 374,059 is larger than the number of individuals transferred (324,212) because some individuals passed through the same facility more than once during their custody period.

The Port Isabel Service Processing Center in Los Fresnos, Texas, was by far the busiest facility. It alone handled more than one out of every ten transfers. The Florence Staging Facility in Florence, Arizona was second, followed by the Harlingen Hold Room in Harlingen, Texas.

Texas was the location for 11 out of the top 25 transfer facilities. It was followed by California with five and Georgia with three. Arizona and Louisiana each had two, followed by Illinois and Florida with one each. Note that transfers can occur at the beginning as well as the end of the detainee's stay. The latter often occurs when the individual is being deported. Thus a state in which one or more large detention facilities are located may rank high because so many individuals are transferred from their facilities to departure points when they are being deported.

Individuals Leaving ICE Custody — Top 25 Facilities

Based on the number of individuals who left ICE custody during the past year, the top 25 facilities that ICE used are shown in Table 5. A total of 14 out of the 25 were located in Texas, while fully 21 out of the 25 were located in the four states along the country's southwest border with Mexico. Arizona had four, California two, and New Mexico one. The remaining four were in Louisiana (2), Georgia (1) and Pennsylvania (1).

Two of the top three facilities — the Port Isabel Service Processing Center and the Harlingen Hold Room — are Texas facilities that were first and third, respectively, on the list of the top transfer facilities. The Otero County Processing Center in Chaparral, New Mexico was third highest in terms of the number of departures from ICE custody last year.

Table 4. Facilities Transferring the Largest Number of Individuals During FY 2015 — Top 25
Name of Facility Book Outs Individuals City State Type of Facility
All 374,059 324,212
Port Isabel Service Processing Center 40,335 32,439 Los Fresnos Texas ICE Service Processing Center
Florence Staging Facility 18,264 15,865 Florence Arizona Holding/Staging Facility
Harlingen Hold Room 13,320 13,201 Harlingen Texas Holding/Staging Facility
Houston Field Office Holding Room 8,958 8,945 Houston Texas Holding/Staging Facility
Los Custody Case Holding Facility 13,532 7,185 San Pedro California Holding/Staging Facility
MVN Transportation — SNA 6,753 6,753 Rancho Cucamonga California Other Facility Type
San Diego (Otay-Mesa) Contract Correctional Facility 6,802 6,741 San Diego California Contract Detention Facility
Jena/ LaSalle Detention Facility 7,465 6,708 Jena Louisiana Contract Detention Facility
Laredo Processing Center 6,479 6,454 Laredo Texas Contract Detention Facility
Rio Grande Detention Center 6,350 6,337 Laredo Texas Contract Detention Facility
Alexandria Staging Facility 6,726 6,152 Alexandria Louisiana Holding/Staging Facility
South Texas Contract Detention Facility 5,707 5,700 Pearsall Texas Contract Detention Facility
Pecos Hold Room 5,459 5,459 Pecos Texas Holding/Staging Facility
El Paso Service Processing Center 5,189 5,097 El Paso Texas ICE Service Processing Center
Houston Contract Detention Facility 5,053 4,968 Houston Texas Contract Detention Facility
Adelanto Detention Facility 5,888 4,699 Adelanto California Intergovernmental Service Agreement
Dallas Field Office Holding Facility 7,375 4,586 Dallas Texas Holding/Staging Facility
Phoenix District Office Holding Facility 5,419 4,567 Phoenix Arizona Holding/Staging Facility
Krome North Service Processing Center 5,346 4,382 Miami Florida ICE Service Processing Center
Irwin County Detention Center 4,332 4,233 Ocilla Georgia Intergovernmental Service Agreement
Val Verde Detention Center 4,170 4,168 Del Rio Texas Intergovernmental Service Agreement
San Diego District Staging Facility 4,661 3,989 San Diego California Holding/Staging Facility
Stewart Detention Center 3,835 3,792 Lumpkin Georgia Intergovernmental Service Agreement
Broadview Service Staging (Hold Room) 5,286 3,378 Chicago Illinois Holding/Staging Facility
Atlanta District Office Holding Room 3,440 3,227 Atlanta Georgia Holding/Staging Facility
Table 5. Facilities with the Largest Number of Individuals Leaving ICE Custody During FY 2015 — Top 25
Name of Facility Individuals Booked Out City State Type of Facility
All Departures 325,209
Port Isabel Service Processing Center 27,535 Los Fresnos Texas ICE Service Processing Center
Harlingen Hold Room 18,808 Harlingen Texas Holding/Staging Facility
Otero County Processing Center 14,520 Chaparral New Mexico Intergovernmental Service Agreement
San Diego District Staging Facility 14,494 San Diego California Holding/Staging Facility
West Texas Detention Facility 13,938 Sierra Blanca Texas Intergovernmental Service Agreement
Alexandria Staging Facility 12,043 Alexandria Louisiana Holding/Staging Facility
Houston Contract Detention Facility 11,407 Houston Texas Contract Detention Facility
Florence Staging Facility 10,575 Florence Arizona Holding/Staging Facility
El Paso Service Processing Center 9,522 El Paso Texas ICE Service Processing Center
South Texas Contract Detention Facility 9,510 Pearsall Texas Contract Detention Facility
Florence Service Processing Center 8,148 Florence Arizona ICE Service Processing Center
Rio Grande Detention Center 7,071 Laredo Texas Contract Detention Facility
South Texas Family Residential Center 6,840 Dilley Texas Intergovernmental Service Agreement
Laredo Detention Center Hold Room 6,744 Laredo Texas Holding/Staging Facility
Eloy Federal Contract Facility 6,415 Eloy Arizona Intergovernmental Service Agreement
Phoenix District Office Holding Facility 6,203 Phoenix Arizona Holding/Staging Facility
Stewart Detention Center 5,763 Lumpkin Georgia Intergovernmental Service Agreement
Jena/ LaSalle Detention Facility 5,265 Jena Louisiana Contract Detention Facility
San Bernadino Hold Room 4,477 San Bernadino California Holding/Staging Facility
Montgomery County Jail 4,341 Conroe Texas Intergovernmental Service Agreement
Big Spring Hold Room 4,134 Big Spring Texas Holding/Staging Facility
Karnes County Residential Center 3,331 Karnes City Texas Intergovernmental Service Agreement
T. Don Hutto Residential Center 2,979 Taylor Texas Juvenile Facility
Dallas Field Office Holding Facility 2,941 Dallas Texas Holding/Staging Facility
York County Jail 2,735 York Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Service Agreement


[1] There were an additional 4,384 occasions in which ICE records indicated detainees were being transferred, but without any record of them being booked into another facility. On an additional 56 occasions the reason for leaving a facility was not given so it was unclear whether they were or weren't leaving ICE custody. Because the information was incomplete or inaccurate, these 4,440 book-outs are not included in the tables for this report. TRAC found a very substantial number of additional records that indicated the individuals had left ICE custody (to be deported or for other reasons) when other records showed the same individuals had actually been booked into another ICE facility. TRAC treated these occasions as transfers, rather than departures. According to the information ICE provided TRAC, a total of 367,774 individuals were in ICE custody at some point during FY 2015.

[2] These figures reflect how often a detainee was booked into and out of a facility, and don't reflect how long the individual stayed. More information about length of stay at each facility is contained in TRAC's facility-by-facility reports.

[3] Of the detainers it prepares, ICE contends that it cannot determine which result in an individual being turned over to its custody. TRAC compiled the figure of 11 percent by counting the number of individuals entering ICE custody on whom ICE had prepared detainers; cases were counted when the date of the detainer was within 365 days of the person's initial entrance into ICE custody.