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ERO: Detention Management

ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) manages and oversees the nation’s civil immigration detention system. ICE detainees placed in ERO custody represent virtually every country in the world, various security classifications, both genders and medical conditions ranging from healthy to terminally ill.

Non-U.S. citizens who are apprehended and determined to need custodial supervision are placed in detention facilities. Those who are released from secure custody constitute ERO's "nondetained" docket. Every case, whether "detained" or "non-detained," remains part of ERO's caseload and is actively managed until it is formally closed. ERO processes and monitors detained and non-detained cases as they move through immigration court proceedings to conclusion. At that point, ERO executes the judge's order.

Through an aggressive inspections program, ICE ensures its facilities follow ICE's National Detention Standards (NDS). ERO's Detention Standards Compliance Unit ensures that detainees in ICE custody reside in safe, secure and humane environments and under appropriate conditions of confinement.

The NDS were originally issued in September 2000 to facilitate consistent conditions of confinement, access to legal representation and safe and secure operations across the detention system. The standards established consistency of program operations and management expectations, accountability for compliance and a culture of professionalism.

ICE now uses Performance-Based National Detention Standards (PBNDS) that focus on results or outcomes. Each detention center must meet specified standards.

As part of the restructuring of the former INS, the Homeland Security Act of 2002 transferred the responsibilities related to the care and custody of unaccompanied alien children to the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Refugee Resettlement. To that end, ERO developed policy and procedures regarding the appropriate case management of unaccompanied alien children in Federal custody while they wait for immigration proceedings. ERO coordinates closely with DHS partners to ensure the timely and safe transfer of unaccompanied alien children to the Office of Refugee Resettlement in accordance with both the Homeland Security Act of 2002 and the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008.

Family Residential Centers maintain family unity as families go through immigration proceedings or await return to their home countries. ICE ensures that these residential centers operate in an open environment, which includes access to medical care, social workers, educational services, legal counsel and recreational opportunities. A language services program provides indigenous language interpretation for residents in family residential centers, to improve meaningful access to services within the centers.

To be eligible to stay at a residential center, the family cannot have a criminal history and must include a non-U.S. citizen child or children under the age of eighteen accompanied by his/her/their non-U.S. citizen parent(s) or legal guardian(s). With limited exceptions stays at residential centers are generally limited to 20 days.

Families are medically screened upon arrival by a licensed nursing staff that is on site 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The facilities provide ongoing medical, dental and mental health care as needed.

All school-aged children receive educational services by state certified teachers. The centers include communal activity rooms, social library, law library, televisions, recreation areas and toddler play areas. Residents have access to cafeterias with child friendly and cultural food choices offered three times a day. Refrigerators in common areas are stocked with fresh fruit, milk and water 24-hours a day. Families have access to an on-site commissary to purchase additional food, snacks and drinks.

Social and legal visitation opportunities are available to residents seven days a week.

ICE headquarters has a designated unit that oversees the compliance of family residential standards and manages an independent compliance inspection program through a contracted team of juvenile subject matter experts. 

ICE’s two Family Residential Centers (FRC) include:

As detailed in the June 2017 DHS Inspector General’s report, the family residential centers are “clean, well-organized, and efficiently run” and the agency was found to be “addressing the inherent challenges of providing medical care and language services and ensuring the safety of families in detention.”

ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) manages and oversees the nation’s civil immigration detention system, detaining individuals in furtherance of their removal proceedings or to effect their removal from the U.S. after a final order of removal from a federal immigration judge. ICE detainees are housed in a variety of facilities across the United States, including but not limited to ICE-owned-and-operated facilities; local, county or state facilities contracted through Intergovernmental Service Agreements, and contractor-owned-and-operated facilities.

ICE is committed to ensuring that those in our custody reside in safe, secure and humane environments and under appropriate conditions of confinement. ICE makes custody determinations on a case-by-case basis, in accordance with U.S. law and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policy, considering the merits and factors of each case while adhering to current agency priorities, guidelines and legal mandates. In making such determinations, ERO officers weigh a variety of factors, including the person’s criminal record, immigration history, ties to the community, risk of flight, and whether he or she poses a potential threat to public safety.

Congressional requirements described in the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill (2019) require ICE to make the following data publicly accessible.


ICE Currently Detained Population

Currently Detained Population by Arresting Agency as of 01/11/2020

CriminalityICEPercent ICECBPPercent CBPTotal
Convicted Criminal11,83783%2,47217%14,309
Pending Criminal Charges4,46586%69714%5,162
Other Immigration Violator1,7318%19,52092%21,251


Currently Detained by Processing Disposition as of 01/11/2020

Processing DispositionCount
Expedited Removal (I-860)18,064
Notice to Appear (I-862)17,696
Reinstatement of Deport Order (I-871)3,773

* Other processing dispositions may include, but are not limited to, aliens processed under Administrative Removal, Visa Waiver Program Removal, Stowaway, or Crewmember.

Currently Detained Population with USCIS-Established Persecution or Torture Claims as of 01/11/2020

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) is responsible for the adjudication of asylum claims submitted by individuals present in the United States who are not in removal proceedings, and screening those encountered at the border – both at and between the Ports of Entry – and who are placed into expedited removal proceedings and express an intent to apply for asylum or a fear of return or persecution. In an effort to meet the Congressional requirements set forth in the 2019 Appropriations Act, USCIS provides ICE with data regarding aliens who established a claim of persecution or torture. ICE subsequently compared this data against its detention population.

As of January 11, 2020, there were 9,397* aliens in ICE custody who were determined by USCIS to have a Persecution Claim Established or Torture Claim Established.

*This includes data for FY 2019. Cases from USCIS-provided data include both credible fear and reasonable fear determinations.

For additional background information on credible fear of persecution or torture or reasonable fear of persecution or torture, please reference the USCIS website.


ICE Initial Book-Ins FY2020 Year-to-Date (YTD)

Initial Book-Ins by Facility Type as of 01/11/2020

Detention Facility TypeConvicted CriminalPending Criminal ChargesOther Immigration ViolatorTotal


Initial Book-Ins by Arresting Agency, Program, and Month as of 01/11/2020

AgencyOctNovDecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepTotal FY



ICE Average Daily Population (ADP) and ICE Average Length of Stay (ALOS)  FY2020 YTD

ADP by Arresting Agency and Month as of 01/11/2020

AgencyOctNovDecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepFY Overall
CBP Average31,13927,52124,46823,423--------27,253
Convicted Criminal4,1073,1852,6962,592--------3,252
Pending Criminal Charges892773697719--------780
Other Immigration Violator26,13923,56321,07420,112--------23,221
ICE Average19,07318,64518,31018,250--------18,631
Convicted Criminal12,94812,40512,09212,014--------12,433
Pending Criminal Charges4,1214,2244,3304,492--------4,254
Other Immigration Violator2,0042,0161,8881,744--------1,945
Convicted Criminal17,05515,59014,78814,606--------15,685
Pending Criminal Charges5,0144,9975,0275,211--------5,034
Other Immigration Violator28,14325,57822,96221,856--------25,165


ALOS by Arresting Agency and Month as of 01/11/2020

AgencyOctNovDecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepFY Overall
CBP Average57.656.652.251.5--------55.2
Convicted Criminal40.340.031.332.2--------37.1
Pending Criminal Charges55.747.053.237.9--------50.2
Other Immigration Violator63.762.457.958.9--------61.1
ICE Average51.354.258.552.4--------54.3
Convicted Criminal52.955.761.852.1--------56.2
Pending Criminal Charges49.552.053.045.7--------50.9
Other Immigration Violator44.948.950.167.3--------49.7
Convicted Criminal48.450.351.645.9--------49.6
Pending Criminal Charges50.650.853.143.9--------50.8
Other Immigration Violator62.



ICE Alternatives to Detention (ATD) Program


ICE’s ATD program is a flight-mitigation tool that uses technology and case management to increase aliens’ compliance with release conditions while they are on the non-detained docket. It is not a substitute for detention, but allows ICE to exercise increased supervision over a portion of those who are not detained.

The ATD program began in 2004 through the agency’s Intensive Supervision Appearance Program (ISAP) I contract. Currently, ATD -ISAP III utilizes modern technology and case management with the goal of more closely monitoring a small segment of cases assigned to the non-detained docket. There are currently over 3 million individuals assigned to the non-detained docket, many with pending cases before the immigration courts. Of these, approximately 100,000 are enrolled in ATD, or about 5 percent of the total non-detained population. The remaining 95 percent of the non-detained population are not subject to the enhanced supervision.

There are varying degrees of supervision and monitoring options available in the ATD -ISAP III program. On a case by case basis, local ICE ERO Deportation Officers determine the type and manner of monitoring that is appropriate for each participant, including the specific type of technology – global positioning system (GPS) tracking devices, telephonic reporting (TR), or a smartphone application (SmartLINK) – and case management levels, which include frequency of office or home visits. ICE may adjust the level of supervision required as the level of compliance either increases or decreases. There are several factors considered when reviewing a case to determine if they will be enrolled in the ATD program. Some examples are an individual’s criminal and immigration history; supervision history; family and/or community ties; status as a caregiver or provider; and other humanitarian or medical considerations.

Additionally, as instructed by Congress, ICE recently incorporated many of the Family Case Management Program (FCMP) principles into its traditional ATD program. These principles were incorporated into the current ATD ISAP III through a contract modification and are known as Extended Case Management Services (ECMS). These same services are available through the ECMS modification as they were available under FCMP with two distinct differences: ECMS is available in a higher number of locations and available at a fraction of the cost. While ECMS is a new program, ICE continues to identify and enroll eligible participants.

ATD Active Population by Technology and Area of Responsibility (AOR) as of 01/11/2020

El Paso4211156381,174
Los Angeles3,7576036,16410,524
New Orleans2,2334754283,136
New York1,836862,7324,654
Salt Lake City6751,3951,0283,098
San Antonio7041474111,262
San Diego1,1405349802,654
San Francisco6,2317546,12113,106
St Paul4937851,1302,408
Washington DC1,7798574583,094
Total38,015 17,972 36,412 92,399


ATD Active Population by Technology and Family Unit Head of Household (HoH)/Single Adult Status as of 01/11/2020

ECMS - FAMU00291291
Single Adult13,7158,14217,07238,929
ECMS - Single Adult00179179

* FAMU data as of 11/30/2019 and bounced against 01/11/2020 BI Inc.

ATD Average Length in Program (ALIP) as of 01/11/2020

Active ALIP
618.1 Days




The Average Daily Population (ADP) is the total number of individuals in ICE detention across the current fiscal year, divided by the number of days into the fiscal year. ICE’s fiscal year runs October 1 through September 30. ADP is reported “as of” a date within the current fiscal year.

Arresting agency:

  • CBP: Individuals encountered and arrested by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), including Border Patrol and Air and Land Inspections, and turned over to ICE.
  • ICE: Individuals encountered and arrested by ICE, including ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

For ADP, criminality is defined in the following manner:

  • Convicted Criminal:The individual has a criminal conviction in the system of record on or prior to the date of departure.
  • Non-Criminal: The individual does not have a criminal conviction in the system of record on or prior to date of departure. This includes individuals who have criminal convictions that were overturned, dropped, or dismissedon or prior to date of departure.

Average Length of Stay (ALOS) is the average number of days an individual spent in ICE custody as of the current fiscal year.

Currently Detained is the number of individuals detained in ICE custody, “as of” the reporting date.

For ALOS and Currently Detained, criminality is defined in the following manner:

  • Convicted Criminal: The individual has a criminal conviction entered into ICE systems of record at the time of arrest by ICE.
  • Pending Criminal Charges:The individual has pending criminal charges entered into ICE system of record at the time of arrest by ICE.
  • Other Immigration Violators: The individual has no known criminal convictions, or pending charges entered into ICE system of record at the time of arrest by ICE.

Initial Book-Ins by Facility Type is the number of individuals booked into ICE custody, broken down by those booked into adult custody and those booked into a family residential center. **Note that ICE detention population does not include U.S. Marshals Service Prisoners or unaccompanied minors reported by the Office of Refugee and Resettlement.

Data is continuously updated throughout the fiscal year and may fluctuate until the data is locked at the close of the fiscal year.
Last Reviewed/Updated: 01/16/2020