ICE Eliminates Detention Alternative for Asylum-Seekers

The Trump Administration is eliminating the least restrictive alternative to detention available to asylum-seekers who have entered the U.S. illegally.1 Immigration advocates denounce the move, as the program’s participants are almost all Central American mothers and children who are fleeing violence and poverty.2 The majority of asylum-seekers that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) does not confine to family detention centers have been placed in an “intensive supervision” program while they await court hearings on whether they can stay in the U.S.3

The Family Case Management Program is the program being eliminated.4 The program is a counseling service that had 630 families enrolled as of April 19 and operated in Chicago, Miami, New York, Los Angeles, and Baltimore/Washington, D.C. since January 2016.5 The program’s contract was renewed in September for one year. Social workers helped participants find lawyers, navigate the immigration court system, get housing and health care, and enroll the children in school.6 The program will end on June 20 of this year.7

ICE spokeswoman Sarah Rodriguez said that the “Intensive Supervision Appearance Program” is a cost-cutting measure that is far more effective with deportations.8 Rodriguez stated that ICE would save more than $12 million a year which could be used towards enforcement and removal.9 Family case management costs $36 a day per family, whereas intensive supervision costs $5-$7 per adult. A family detention center bed costs $319 per person.10

Trump’s 2018 budget proposal seeks a $1.6 billion increase to expand detention and removals as well as an additional $57 million for alternatives to detention, almost all of which is allocated for intensive supervision.11


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