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An intergovernmental service agreement, also known as an IGSA contracts, is an agreement between Immigration and Customs Enforcement and a state or local government facility, that permits Enforcement and Removal Operations to use to hold undocumented immigrant detainees.
IGSAs create contracts between ICE and local jails that are willing to have “administrative detainees,” or an immigrant who hasn’t been charged with criminal violations. They are held in custody as they go through the immigration hearing process and until they receive a final decision from an immigration court on whether they can remain in the United States.
Facilities under the contract are paid by the federal government for each person they hold on immigration charges. Data obtained by the Immigrant Legal Resource Center shows the Theo Lacy Facility in Orange, California, for example, held around 500 individuals for ICE and received $118 per person per day, which totaled around $59,000 daily. In FY 2019, there were a total of 116 facilities with IGSA contracts.
Additionally, while under contract, the facilities could be used by any private company in the business of providing detention services.
IGSA contracts have been under scrutiny for allegedly facilitating poor and even unsafe conditions for immigrant detainees with little oversight. A DHS Office of the Inspector General report found “ICE does not adequately hold detention facility contractors accountable for not meeting performance standards” and “ICE fails to consistently include its quality assurance surveillance plan in facility contracts.”