Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 02052041 (posted May. 20, 2002)"
Strengthening the nation’s capacity to detain and remove criminal and other
deportable aliens is a key component of the Immigration and Naturalization
Service’s (INS) comprehensive strategy to deter illegal immigration and protect
public safety. The INS has made the apprehension, detention and removal of
illegal aliens a priority. This commitment has been backed by significant
resources devoted to detention and removal efforts.
passage of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act
(IIRIRA) of 1996, Congress expanded the number of crimes that made people
subject to removal. It also eliminated INS’ discretion to release certain aliens
by requiring that virtually any non-citizen subject to removal on the basis of a
criminal conviction, as well as certain categories of non-criminal aliens, be
detained without bond. As a result of IIRIRA, INS is required to detain a much
larger number of people.
The provisions in IIRIRA requiring
long-term detention, along with the rise in sophisticated smuggling operations,
and the increase in the number of criminal aliens have resulted in the need for
significantly more detention space.
INS operates nine Service
Processing Centers (SPCs) in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico; Batavia, New York; El
Centro, California; El Paso, Texas; Florence, Arizona; Miami, Florida; Los
Fresnos, Texas; San Pedro, California and New York, New York. The newest SPC,
the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility, is unique because, in addition to its
300 INS beds, it has 150 beds for use by the U.S. Marshals
INS augments its SPCs with seven contract detention
facilities. These facilities are located in Aurora (Denver), Colorado; Houston,
Texas; Laredo, Texas; Seattle, Washington; Elizabeth, New Jersey; Queens, New
York; and San Diego California. INS also uses state and local jails on a
reimbursable detention day basis. INS also has joint Federal facilities with the
Bureau of Prisons, the Federal Detention Center in Oakdale, Louisiana, and the
criminal alien contract facility in Eloy, Arizona. Of the 33 domestic INS
districts, 15 have an SPC and/or a major INS contract detention facility. In
addition, major expansion initiatives are underway at several
To do this, over $600 million is spent on detention by the
INS each year on detention. The average stay in an INS detention facility is
approximately 29.5 days, although stays of only one day, and those of several
years, also occur.
In November 2000, the INS issued its Detention
Operations Manual. This manual of standards and procedures is being implemented
at all INS direct and contract facilities.