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November 17, 2014Washington, DC, United StatesEnforcement and Removal

ICE's new family detention center in Dilley, Texas to open in December

ICE will transition out of the temporary facility in Artesia, New Mexico

WASHINGTON — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will be expanding its detention capacity for adults with children at the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, in December. In light of this upcoming expansion, ICE is transitioning out of the temporary family residential facility at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Campus (FLETC) in Artesia, New Mexico, and returning this facility full time to FLETC operations during the month of December.

"With the opening of the Dilley facility, ICE will have the initial capacity to house up to 480 residents but the ultimate capacity to house up to 2,400 individuals," said Acting ICE Director Thomas S. Winkowski. "These facilities help ensure timely and effective removals that comply with our legal and international obligations, while deterring others from taking the dangerous journey and illegally crossing into the United States."

The South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley is the fourth facility the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has used to increase its capacity to detain and expedite the removal of adults with children who illegally crossed the Southwest border. ICE continues to use a newly modified residential center in Karnes City, Texas, and a long-standing facility in Leesport, Pennsylvania, to house adults with children.

"ICE opened the temporary facility in Artesia in June as a critical piece of the government’s response to the unprecedented influx of adults with children at the Southwest border. Since then, the numbers of illegal migrants crossing into south Texas has gone down considerably," said Acting Director Winkowski. "However, we must be prepared for traditional, seasonal increases in illegal migration. The Dilley facility will provide invaluable surge capacity should apprehensions of adults with children once again surge this spring."

On Nov. 7, 2014, ICE ceased intake of individuals to its temporary family residential center in Artesia, New Mexico, and began the draw-down process to cease operations by the end of 2014.

ICE is screening the approximately 420 current residents of the Artesia facility on a case by case basis to identify those for whom transfer to another facility is appropriate. These individuals will be transferred before the end of the year to the family residential centers in Karnes City, Texas, and Dilley, Texas.

ICE's residential centers for adults with children are an effective and humane alternative to maintain family unity as families await the outcome of immigration hearings or return to their home countries. ICE ensures that these residential centers operate in an open environment, which includes medical care, play rooms, social workers, educational services, and access to legal counsel.