Recently published data from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) provides insight into who ICE is detaining and for how long.

The results show that the majority of noncitizens are being held in the rural South, and many are subject to fast-track removal proceedings. But still, many people remain locked up for months, if not years.

Right Now, ICE Is Detaining Tens of Thousands of People, Mostly in the Rural South

ICE is detaining 20,892 people in 122 immigration detention centers, private prisons, county jails, and other carceral settings across the country. By far, ICE holds the most people (10,175) in Texas.

The five detention centers with the largest detained populations are located in rural areas of Texas, Louisiana, Georgia, and Mississippi—far from immigration attorneys.

More Than Half of the People in Detention Now Are New Arrivals Facing Fast-Track Deportation

Of the 20,892 people in detention, more than half are new arrivals arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Most of these newly arrived noncitizens in detention have no criminal history.

Over 50% of people in detention (12,718) are facing fact-track removal proceedings—either expedited removal or reinstatement of removal—in which an immigration officer can order them deported without a hearing before an immigration judge.

ICE Continues to Detain Noncitizens—Including Bona Fide Asylum Seekers—For Many Months, If Not Years

As of mid-January, ICE had detained 1,101 noncitizens for more than 6 months, including people who have already been found by an asylum officer to have a credible asylum claim. And many people have been detained much longer. ICE has detained 228 people for one to two years and 72 people even longer. The average length of stay at Adelanto ICE Processing Center is 714 days.

Even where ICE grants bond, the average bond amount in January 2023 was $5,793. This number is striking, especially when a noncitizen must pay the full bond amount (rather than a portion of the amount) to be released from custody. In 2018, the Federal Reserve found that four in 10 adults would struggle to pay a $400 emergency expense.

In FY 2023, ICE Held Hundreds of People with Medical or Mental Health Conditions in Solitary Confinement

In the first quarter of FY 2023, ICE placed 200 individuals with medical or mental health concerns in segregation, otherwise known as solitary confinement. The practice is widely criticized as cruel and unnecessary.

These numbers illustrate a sprawling detention system that holds tens of thousands of noncitizens for months or years in remote facilities far from family, community, and legal representation. Numbers do not tell the whole story, but they reflect the scope and cruelty of immigration detention.