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INS Detention Facilities Home Pages Going Online

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. 

With the 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 Service. 

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 SPCS. 

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. 

Alphabetical List of Detention Facilities Located in (State)
Overseen by INS Office:
Aguadilla Service Processing Center Puerto Rico San Juan District
Buffalo Federal Detention Center New York Buffalo District
Denver Contract Detention Facility Colorado Denver District
El Centro Service Processing Center California San Diego District
Elizabeth Contract Detention Facility New Jersey Newark District
El Paso Service Processing Center Texas El Paso District
Florence Service Processing Center Arizona Phoenix District
Houston Contract Detention Facility Texas Houston District
Krome Service Processing Center Florida Miami District
Laredo Contract Detention Facility Texas San Antonio District
Queens Contract Detention Facility New York New York District
Port Isabel Service Processing Center Texas Harlingen District
San Diego Contract Detention Facility California San Diego District
San Pedro Service Processing Center California Los Angeles District
Seattle Contract Detention Facility Washington Seattle District
Varick Service Processing Center New York New York District