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Intergovernmental Service Agreement (Contract Detention Center)

An intergovernmental service agreement, also known as an IGSA, is an agreement between the Department of Homeland Security‘s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency and a county or local jail to hold immigrants.

IGSAs create “contracts” between ICE and local jails that are willing to have “administrative detainees.” These detainees are immigrants who haven’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.

As part of these contracts, ICE pays jails a daily fee for each detainee they hold. 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, bringing in about $59,000 a day.

IGSA contracts have been under scrutiny for allegedly facilitating poor and even unsafe conditions 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.”