"Family residential centers are an effective and humane alternative for maintaining family unity as families go through immigration proceedings or await return to their home countries. ICE ensures that these residential centers operate in an open environment, which includes medical care, play rooms, social workers, educational services, and facilitation of access to legal counsel. ICE has recently taken additional measures to promote these values, including addressing language access issues for speakers of indigenous languages, providing dedicated work spaces for pro bono attorneys, and making available additional attorney-client meeting rooms. All ICE family residential facilities are governed by strict standards, and extensively monitored and audited. Senior DHS leadership have also routinely undertaken on-site reviews of ICE's residential facilities, including Secretary Johnson who recently toured the Karnes Texas facility with his senior staff.
"ICE has also recently implemented a review process for any families detained beyond 90 days, and every 60 days thereafter, to ensure detention or the designated bond amount continues to be appropriate while families await conclusion of their immigration proceedings before the Department of Justice's Executive Office for Immigration Review.
"Secretary Johnson has made it clear that individuals apprehended crossing the border illegally, including families, are an agency priority and that ICE should allocate enforcement resources accordingly. As directed in the Secretary's November 20, 2014 memorandum, ICE is using appropriate prosecutorial discretion and dedicating resources, to the greatest degree possible, to the removal of individuals who are considered enforcement priorities, who include recent border entrants. ICE makes custody determinations on a case-by-case basis, considering all the merits and factors of each case while adhering to agency priorities, guidelines and legal mandates."
Additional on the record comments:
- Over 98% of those in detention meet ICE's enforcement priorities (96 percent are Priority 1 or Priority 2 aliens, i.e. convicted criminals, recent border crossers, or public safety threats).
- Since July 2014 (as of May 31, 2015), 6,381 individuals had been booked into an FRC, of which approximately 58 percent (3,727) have been released and 687 have been removed. Of the approximately 1,835 as of May 30, 2015, that remain at FRCs, 74 percent have a length of stay less than 30 days, and 15 percent have a length of stay between 30-59 days.
- All ICE family residential facilities are located within easy reach of major metro areas.