McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — The number of migrants being held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is at the highest levels since March 2020, according to new data released Thursday.
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a non-partisan research organization at Syracuse University, reports that as of Thursday, 27,217 people were in custody at ICE detention centers, and there’s been a significant bump in the past two weeks.
The new TRAC data also found that 79% or 21,667 of the 27,217 being held in ICE detention facilities have no criminal record, and the majority have only minor offenses, including traffic violations.
So far in the fiscal year 2021, Texas has had the most ICE detentions, followed by Louisiana, Arizona, Georgia and California, TRAC reports.
The South Texas ICE Processing Center in Pearsall, Texas, currently has the most detainees.
Austin Kocher, a TRAC researcher, told Border Report this is the most ICE detentions in over a year. And it comes at a time when the country is beginning to emerge from a pandemic and Trump-era policies that sent most migrants back to their countries of origin or made them wait in Mexico during their asylum proceedings.
Despite the rise in incarcerations, there are 106,080 migrant families and single adults who, instead of being detained in ICE facilities, have been released to the agency’s ICE Alternatives to Detention program, which monitors their actions, TRAC reports. This could include reporting to an ICE agent and/or ankle monitoring devices. Over 11,000 migrants living in San Francisco have been placed in this program, the most of any city in the nation, TRAC reports.