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Report: Immigrants More Likely To Be Arrested If They Live Near a Detention Center


Sep 29, 2022

ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) officers making arrests

This summary about the likelihood of immigrants being arrested was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

Immigrants are over 2 to 6 times more likely to be targeted if they live near a detention center, according to a new report by the Detention Watch Network, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, and the Ceres Policy Research. Advocates say it confirms what they have known for years. 

There is a direct link between Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests and the availability and capacity of immigration jails, as immigrants in counties with more detention space are significantly more likely to be arrested and detained by ICE, the report states.

Erika Guadalupe Núñez, executive director of the Latinx immigrants rights group Juntos, says they have been seeing an uptick in immigrants being arrested in Philadelphia. They strongly believe it is linked to the opening of the Moshannon Valley Correctional Center, the largest immigration detention facility in the Northeast, last year. 

“Immigration detention is entrenched within mass incarceration in every county and state in the US,” said Mitzia Martinez, a researcher at Ceres Policy Research. “Communities of color, particularly Black immigrant communities, are targeted most. Shrinking and ultimately abolishing the detention system must be a priority in the fight for immigrant and racial justice.”

The report relies on 2018 data on detention capacity and apprehension rates nationwide from a variety of primary and secondary sources, including TRAC Reports and ICE’s public records. 

Other key findings from the report: The highest number of ICE arrests occur in counties with the highest proportion of criminal law enforcement arrests, and immigrants in these counties were four times more vulnerable to arrest. The counties with the highest number of apprehensions closely align with the locations of some of ICE’s largest immigration detention facilities.

Grisel Ruiz, a supervising attorney at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, said “strategies must now include paths to closing abusive facilities.” 

Key recommendations for advocates and government officials were detailed in the report: They include cutting ICE contracts, ending transfers, demanding releases instead of transfers, coordinating with communities working to dismantle the incarceration system, and more.

Silky Shah, executive director at Detention Watch Network, also shared some highlights from the report, which you can download to read here.


New York

Mayor Adams defends plan to build asylum seeker tent shelter in the Bronx: Construction on the first shelter, for adults and expected to open in the coming weeks, began Monday. The mayor said the Bronx location was selected above 50 others. — Gothamist

Home Care Workers battle their own union concerning 24-hour shifts: 1199 SIEU, which has been blocking a legislative path to cap daily shifts, said a remark its press secretary gave Documented last month has created confusion about its stance. — New York Focus 

Around the U.S. 

Two men arrested in connection with shooting of two migrants in Texas: Both men — Michael Sheppard, a warden at a local jail, and his twin brother, Mark Sheppard — were arrested yesterday and charged with manslaughter. — New York Times

L.A. foundations partner with local governments to pay for lawyers to represent migrants: Deportation cases can cost over $10,000 in legal fees. Foundations hope the effort will be copied across the country. — AP News

Newsom signs bill allowing California IDs for undocumented immigrants: Eligibility will be expanded for about 2 million immigrants. He also signed a bill that will help low-income people, regardless of immigration status. — Los Angeles Times

Three arrested and accused of trying to transport migrants by air: The affidavit details allegations from three Salvadoran nationals who said they were picked up, two from a stash house and one from a hotel, then driven to the airport. — AP News

Washington D.C.

Feds want psychological tests for parents of separated kids: Evaluations are routine in emotional damages claims, though the government’s role in traumatizing parents and children by the separations has been well documented. — AP News

Biden is hoping small changes go a long way in immigration: The administration has redirected 140 asylum officers to conduct the new asylum merits interviews. Biden has also requested funding for new asylum officers and additional support staff. — New York Times

Senate Democrats introduce immigration registry bill to provide pathway to citizenship for millions:The registry was one of the three options put to the Senate last year during negotiations around the Build Back Better Act, which ultimately didn’t pass. — Latino Rebels



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