Immigrant Detention: Can ICE Meet its Legal Imperatives and Case Management Responsibilities?
In light of criticisms by government and nongovernmental organizations regarding the failure of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in complying with its legal mandates and management imperatives, this report explores whether the agency is capable of fully complying with the law and managing its sprawling detention system. The report analyzes select data for all detainees in custody on January 25, 2009 to determine the sufficiency of ICE database and case tracking systems. Although the data only offers a snapshot of the ICE detention system , the analysis provides a telling look at the demographic characteristics of ICE detainees, the facilities in which they are held, and the length of detention for pre- and post-removal order cases, the criminal backgrounds of detainees, and other significant data points.
Overall, the report reveals that while ICE collects valuable biographic, immigration, and detention information on detainees, information that would allow ICE agents to make informed decisions on custody, release, eligibility for alternative-to-detention programs, and adherence to its standards was not always available. The report recommends improvements in ICE’s database and case management systems which would: provide agents with information necessary to determine whether a detainee constitutes a risk and why, meets the criteria for release parole, may have a claim to U.S. citizenship, has special medical or humanitarian issues, has complied with the government’s attempts to deport him, has been treated in compliance with ICE’s national standards; consolidate all relevant information into a centralized system and eliminate duplicate tracking systems; implement consistent and timely data entry procedures; and allow for accurate screening of detainees’ eligibility for cost-saving alternative-to-detention programs.
IV. Sufficiency of ICE Information Systems to Meet Core Agency Mandates