McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — The total number of migrants held in U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities has swelled to nearly 40,000 — the most since January 2020 -- and most are housed in Texas, according to a new study.
Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) of Syracuse University reports that 39,748 non-U.S. citizens were being detained in facilities as of Nov. 5, according to the latest data available.
This follows a trend that began in the summer.
Most of the detainees crossed into the United States along the Southwest border, TRAC reports.
Meanwhile, the number of migrants enrolled in ICE's electronic monitoring program, or Alternatives to Detention, has dropped, TRAC reports.
There were 190,095 in ATD programs on Nov. 4; That's down nearly 50% from 377,980 in ATD in December.
But the number of people enrolled in a new ICE ATD experimental GPS smartwatch monitoring device program -- called VeriWatch -- has doubled from 100 on Sept. 9, to 200 on Nov. 4, TRAC reports. The lightweight wrist bracelets are made by contractor BI, which has managed ICE's ATD program since 2004, according to a report by TRAC researcher and Syracuse University professor Austin Kocher.
Kocher says these wrist bracelets "are smaller and more discreet" than ankle monitoring devices, but also capture more data, including biometric authentication.
In August, ICE announced it was expanding its testing use of VeriWatch to groups of migrants in the Los Angeles area. Original testing began with 50 migrants in the Denver area but has since expanded to include 34 migrants in Dallas and 38 in El Paso, according to TRAC.
TRAC also reports:
- Many migrants in ATD also are being monitored on dual devices, including GPS monitoring and SmartLINK smartphone apps. The number doubled from 772 to 1,208 in November.
- The majority of migrants held in ICE facilities -- 71% -- have no criminal record.
- There are over 14,600 people held in ICE detention facilities in Texas. Louisiana has the second-most with 6,052, followed by California, Arizona and Georgia, according to TRAC. The South Texas Family Residential Center, in Dilley, holds over 2,000 per day, and over 1,700 are held in Pearsall, Texas, at the South Texas ICE Processing Center.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at SSanchez@BorderReport.com.