Amid increased concern about the number of Caribbean and other immigrants in detention, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) has released data on those incarcerated.
The DOJ said the US Department’s Bureau of Prisons (BOP) has an operational process for maintaining data regarding foreign-born inmates in its custody.
On a daily basis, BOP supplies this data to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency.
The DOJ said ICE, in turn, analyzes that data to determine the immigration status of each inmate and provides that information back to BOP.
By way of satisfying the department’s first quarterly report of this data, the DOJ said there are 45,493 foreign-born inmates currently in BOP custody, of which 3,939 are US citizens (either naturalized or derivative).
Of the remaining 41,554 foreign-born inmates, the DOJ said about 22,541 (54.2 percent) are immigrants for which final immigration orders have been issued for their deportation.
The DOJ said about 3,886 (33.4 percent) are immigrants who are under ICE investigation for possible removal, and about 5,101 (12.3 percent) are immigrants still pending adjudication; in other words, ICE has charged these immigrants as removal cases, but a final disposition has not yet been reached.
The DOJ said about 26 (0.1 percent) are immigrants who have been granted relief on the basis of asylum claims.
The United States Marshals Service (USMS) is the DOJ’s component charged with housing and care of US federal pretrial detainees.
DOJ said USMS recently instituted a program to capture data regarding the immigration status of these detainees.
During the prisoner intake process, USMS captures arrestee data such as place of birth, citizenship country and immigration number (if available), in a system called the Justice Detainee Information System (JDIS), the DOJ said.
At the DOJ’s direction, USMS has begun providing ICE with complete data on all foreign-born detainees on a daily basis.
The DOJ said the first of these data transfers to ICE took place on April 5, 2017, with a transfer of data associated with about 19,000 foreign-born detainees.
ICE anticipates that its analysis of this data will soon be complete, the DOJ said.
The DOJ said it and the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) do not currently have a program that collects data regarding the immigration status of convicted immigrants incarcerated in state prisons and local detention centers throughout the United States.
The DOJ said neither it nor DHS can independently collect this data without the assistance of the other.
To address this need, the DOJ said it is in the process of establishing such a program through its Office of Justice Programs (OJP), which houses the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).
“BJS already collects some relevant aggregate data from state and local facilities and the department intends to permanently expand BJS’s data collection efforts in this area,” the DOJ said.
It said President Trump’s Executive Order on Public Safety in the Interior of the United States requires the collection of relevant data and the provision of quarterly reports on data collection efforts.
“Illegal aliens [immigrants] who commit additional crimes in the United States are a threat to public safety and a burden on our criminal justice system,” said US Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a statement.
“This is why we must secure our borders through a wall and effective law enforcement, and we must strengthen cooperation between federal, state and local governments as we strive to fulfill our sacred duty of protecting and serving the American people,” he added.