How long you can expect to remain in a U.S. immigration detention facility?

On Behalf of | May 10, 2021 | Immigration Detention

Being detained by immigration authorities is scary — whether it is happening to you or your loved one.

Coming across information about what to expect once immigration officials detain an immigrant can be challenging. Three entities, including Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) and the legal nonprofits, Freedom for Immigrants and the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC), have compiled some data showing how long these detentions typically last

What’s the average length of immigration detention?

According to TRAC data, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials catch and release an estimated 70% of immigrants on the same day. That same data shows that the other 30% remain in ICE custody for as long as a month. This corresponds with ILRC data showing that the average immigrant remained in ICE custody for at least 34 days. 

Freedom for Immigrants data shows that some detainees spend a year or more in detention. That same data shows that some 48% of those detainees may remain detained for as long as four years. At least 5% of detainees are still in detention for more than four years. 

The downside to lengthy detentions

Many media outlets that have interviewed detainees or immigrants who have been fortunate enough to be released have reported poor treatment in the detention facilities. Many have received poor medical care or nutrition and been deprived of their rights to see attorneys or practice their religion. The insight that an experienced immigration attorney can provide as you navigate the detention and court process can prove invaluable. 

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