Immigrant Detention

Is the system too harsh?


In 2014, 425,000 undocumented immigrants — far more people than are held in federal prisons — were held in the 250 detention centers run by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Most of the detainees were awaiting deportation or a ruling on their eligibility to remain in the United States, including thousands of Central American mothers and children seeking asylum from gang violence at home. While most detainees move through the system in days or weeks, some are held for months or even years waiting for backlogged immigration courts to settle their cases. Critics say the detention system leads to physical and mental abuse, the breakup of immigrant families and, in some cases, death by suicide or neglect. Most detainees pose no risk of flight ...

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