By Felicia J. Persaud
News Americas, FORT LAUDERDALE, FL, Fri. Aug. 4, 2023: While the focus recently has been on Texas’ “inhumane” immigration orders, barbed wire fences, buoys, and a backlog of nearly 2 million cases in the U.S. immigration court system, lost in the news cycle has been the latest update on migrants in U.S. ICE custody, as released by TRAC, or the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse.
Latest data released on July 16th show there are now over 31,000 migrants in ICE detention. That’s an increase from June when the number was 29,613, and definitely a spike from a year ago when the number of detainees was 22,886.
ICE arrested 7,734 and CBP arrested 16,304 of the 24,038 people booked into detention by ICE during June 2023.
But want to guess how many have no criminal record? According to TRAC Immigration, the total is over 62 percent or a whopping 19,330. Many held have only minor offenses, including traffic violations. The number of convicted criminals in custody is 8,504.
The majority of detainees are in facilities in Texas – or a total of 9,892. The South Texas ICE Processing Center in Pearsall, Texas held the largest number of detainees so far in FY 2023, averaging 1,259 per day as of this month, TRAC data shows.
Louisiana has the second largest number at 4,400, followed by California with 1,862; Arizona with 1,716 and Georgia with 1,662.
This news comes amid reports from an explosive email from a medic in the Texas Department of Public Safety that published last week by the Houston Chronicle and the San Antonio Express-News.
“I believe we have stepped over a line into the in humane [sic],” the medic, Nicholas Wingate, wrote in the email. “A pregnant teenager writhing in pain as she suffered a miscarriage while trapped in the barbed wire that Texas has strung along miles of the state’s southern border.” He also wrote about a 4-year-old girl collapsing from heat exhaustion after Texas National Guard members pushed her away from the wire as she tried to cross it with her family.; Texas state troopers receiving orders from their superiors to deny water to migrants in triple-digit heat and officers on another occasion ordering troopers to drive back into the Rio Grande a group of migrants, including children and babies, that they found huddling alongside a fence by the river.”
Wingate’s account was substantiated by two pregnant immigrant women who were trying to turn themselves in to US immigration authorities. Speaking to CNN at a shelter in Eagle Pass, Texas, the two women, identified as Carmen from Honduras and María from El Salvador, recounted their experiences at the border amid recent reports of “inhumane” behavior by Texas border authorities.
“They told us it was a crime to cross into the US and that we should return to Mexico,” Carmen, who said she is six months pregnant, told CNN. She added that she and her husband had initially tried to cross the Rio Grande on July 12th but were stopped by Texas national guard soldiers.
“They told us that they couldn’t give us water because it was not their responsibility,” Carmen told CNN after she tried asking for water.
Meanwhile, ICE Alternatives to Detention, (ATD), programs, which allow migrants to release on their own recognizance – that is, no detention and no conditions on release, except monitoring, now totals, 204,802 families and single individuals, according to data current as of July 15. The majority are in Miami, which has 19,496, followed by 19,015 in San Francisco.
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow.com – The Black Immigrant Daily News. She can be reached at fe*****@ca*****.com