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June 10, 2024Washington, DC, United StatesOperational

ICE announces ongoing work to optimize enforcement resources

Agency to focus on utilizing border management resources to meet operational requirements

WASHINGTON — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement today announced new measures to increase the overall capacity of enforcement resources — including repatriation flights and detention capacity. These efforts support the implementation of the Presidential Proclamation announced on June 4, 2024, and joint Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice Interim Final Rule, Securing the Border, which will significantly streamline the expedited removal process and speed removals for those individuals who do not have a lawful basis to remain in the United States.

As part of these efforts, ICE is optimizing air charter contracts to ensure the maximum amount of repatriation flights can be effectuated weekly. Over the past year, ICE averaged 29 repatriation flights per week. This has been enabled by continued diplomatic efforts to significantly expand the number of countries to which ICE is able to regularly remove individuals. Over the last year, the agency has conducted removal flights to a range of South American and Eastern Hemisphere countries, including Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Egypt, Mauritania, Senegal, Uzbekistan and India. Efforts to expand the number of removal flights continue with the expectation of additional flights added to the schedule in the coming weeks to swiftly deliver consequences to individuals who cross the southern border unlawfully while the Proclamation and its implementing Interim Final Rule are in effect.

The agency continues to manage its detention contracts to enhance its ability to add detention capacity within the funds that Congress has made available. These actions include adjusting existing detention facility contracts to expand the number of beds in ICE’s detention network and filing a motion to allow intake of individuals to resume at the Adelanto ICE Processing Center. ICE continually reviews the overall detention capacity and in doing so, takes action to close certain facilities that no longer provide a sufficient return on investment. This includes closing the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, which is the most expensive facility in the national detention network. Closing this facility will enable ICE to reallocate funding to increase the overall detention bed capacity across the system by an estimated 1,600 beds to better support operational needs. This additional bedspace is being pursued across the country and is expected to be available immediately.

“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement remains focused on meeting the constantly changing operational needs of the immigration enforcement mission in a fiscally responsible manner,” said ICE Deputy Director and Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Director Patrick J. Lechleitner. “We continue to evaluate contracts to ensure we are financially responsible and can increase removal flights and detention bed space capacity to support the dynamic immigration landscape while operating within the budget provided by Congress. Today’s announcement will provide an overall increase in bedspace and operate at or above the FY24 appropriated 41,500 minimum bed requirement while maximizing removal flights.”

As part of routine strategic operational planning, Enforcement and Removal Operations continually assesses various factors when contemplating changes to the national detention facility system.