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March 25, 2022Washington, DC, United StatesEnforcement and Removal, Operational

ICE to close Etowah Detention Center

Will end use of Etowah County Detention Center, limit use of 3 others

WASHINGTON – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will discontinue use of the Etowah County Detention Center in Gadsden, AL and will limit the use of the three other detention facilities: Glades County Detention Center (Moore Haven, FL), Winn Correctional Center (Winnfield, LA), and Alamance County Detention Facility (Graham, North Carolina).

ICE detains noncitizens during removal proceedings and pending removal, as required by law or when necessary to ensure public safety or address risk of flight. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro N. Mayorkas has committed to review detention facilities to assess whether their conditions are humane, meet applicable standards, and represent a responsible use of appropriated funding. The following actions reinforce that commitment:

  • ICE will discontinue use of the Etowah County Detention Center as soon as possible, consistent with the 30-day termination notice requirement and any legal obligations. The Etowah County Detention Center has a long history of serious deficiencies identified during facility inspections and is of limited operational significance to the agency.
  • In recent years, ICE has reduced its use of the Glades County Detention Center, in part due to persistent and ongoing concerns related to the provision of detainee medical care, and because the facility is of limited operational significance. Nevertheless, ICE has continued to pay for a minimum number of beds, many of which the agency has not and likely will not utilize. The agency will not extend the guaranteed minimum beds provision of the agreement. Any future use of the facility will be dependent on fully addressing any conditions that do not meet detention standards.
  • The Alamance County Detention Facility, which is currently used for long-term detention, will only be used for short periods of custody (under 72 hours) if it meets applicable standards. This change is due to limited operational use and concerns about conditions, including a lack of outdoor recreation.
  • ICE will reduce the guaranteed minimum at Winn Correctional Center in order to better match the appropriate use of the facility, more closely aligning the guaranteed minimum to Winn’s historical and recent staffing constraints. ICE will also assign a Custody Resource Coordinator (CRC) to work with the population. ICE will provide DHS an assessment from the CRC on key findings. Finally, ICE will continue to closely monitor conditions, including ongoing construction and remediation work at the facility, and take additional action as necessary.

Acting Director Tae D. Johnson instructed ICE staff to begin preparations, including the relocation of ICE personnel as needed and the transfer of detained noncitizens whose continued detention remains necessary to achieve the agency’s national security, public safety, and border security mission or is otherwise required by law.

ICE will continue to review other immigration detention centers and monitor the quality of treatment of detained individuals, the conditions of detention, and other factors relevant to the continued operation of each facility. The Department will continue to monitor its operational needs for detention and adjust as needed.

Since the May 20, 2021, memorandum on immigration detention issued by Secretary Mayorkas, the Department has taken significant additional steps to review the detention system, including observations, analysis, and expertise provided by personnel at ICE, the Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, the Office of the Immigration Detention Ombudsman, and others.