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Immigration detention numbers continue to rise

For people in Florida dealing with the immigration system, immigration detention can be a particularly troubling concern. This is especially true as reports come in that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is detaining 52,398 immigrants, a record-breaking number that exceeds the number of detention places that Congress already agreed to fund for the year. The administration of President Donald Trump has widely publicized immigration crackdowns, and that rhetoric is reflected in the reality of detention for the largest number of people in the history of ICE.

Previous ICE officials criticized the practice, saying that the agency’s policies were creating an unnecessary and damaging humanitarian crisis. This newer high number comes three months after reports highlighted that the number of immigration detainees had surpassed 50,000, itself a milestone. When reporters asked ICE for information about why it was detaining so many people, it said in a vague statement that each decision about whether to put people in detention was handled on a case-by-case basis in line with U.S. law and government policy.

In February 2019, Congress agreed to fund an average of 45,000 immigration detention beds on a daily basis through the end of September. While the current number of detainees exceeds that amount by over 7,000, the Trump administration can boost funding for ICE detention beds by taking it away from other security programs. Prompting serious criticism, the Department of Homeland Security previously stripped funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Coast Guard to instead fund higher levels of immigration detention.

People who are threatened with immigration detention may be very concerned about their future and how it may impact their ability to remain in the country. An immigration law attorney might work with people to help them avoid or win parole from detention and protect their status.