Number of Detainees in ICE Custody Has Doubled in 5 Months, Higher Than July 2020 Total

( In just the last five months, the number of detainees who are in ICE custody has doubled.

As of late July, there were 27,000 people being detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to an Associated Press report.

That’s nearly double what it was five months ago, and is a thorn in the side of President Joe Biden and his administration. This is especially true as the Biden administration had hoped to be more pro-immigration and reverse a lot of the policies of former President Donald Trump, who was strict against immigration.

Part of Biden’s campaign promises were to end “prolonged” detention of immigrants by ICE. He also promised to stop using private prisons to detain immigrants, but the majority of detainees who are in the custody of ICE are still housed there.

The executive director of the Detention Watch Network, Silky Shah, recently said:

“We’re at this really strange moment with him (Biden). There’s still time to turn things around, but his policies so far haven’t matched his campaign rhetoric.”

In addition to the fact that there has been a huge uptick in ICE detainees, these immigrants are apparently not being treated very well.

According to the AP report, one immigrant from El Salvador, Alexander Martinez, said he fled his home country because of government persecution, gangs led by MS-13 and homophobia.

When he got to the U.S. and was detained, he said he’s faced harassment and abuse.

In April, Martinez, who is 28 years old, crossed into the U.S. illegally. Since then, he has been shuttled back and forth between six different facilities across three states.

While in detention, he told the AP that guards and other detainees have harassed him for being gay, and he’s also faced various racist taunts. He also was infected with COVID-19 while in custody.

While in Louisiana at the Winn Correctional Center, Martinez told the AP last week:

“I find myself emotionally unstable because I have suffered a lot in detention. I never imagined or expected to receive this inhumane treatment.”

The Biden administration has been trying to right its wrongs with regard to immigration and detention, but it hasn’t worked much yet.

Back in May, the contracts with ICE detention centers in Massachusetts and Georgia were terminated after controversy surrounding those facilities emerged. But, that’s all the administration has done.

In his first spending budget, the president also proposed including funding for 32,500 detention beds for immigrants. That’s only a very small decreased from the 34,000 that were funded under Trump.

In other words, the Biden administration isn’t doing much at all to reform immigration detention, despite promises that they would do so.

At the same time, Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of Homeland Security, told Congress recently that he’s “concerned about the overuse of detention.” He promised that his department would review facilities that were considered problematic.