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This Map Shows How Radically Trump Has Changed Immigration Detention

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28.12.2019

A guard escorts an immigrant detainee at the Adelanto Detention Facility in California.John Moore/Getty

In 2016, Donald Trump ran for president on an immigration platform that promised to close the southern border, end the “catch and release” policy, and implement a “zero tolerance” approach to anyone crossing the border illegally. While the current immigration detention system cannot be solely attributed to Trump—for the last 25 years, every US president has contributed to its growth—it is under the current administration that the number of migrants in detention has reached an all-time high.

More detainees means more detention facilities, especially ones run by private prison companies. Using data from Immigration and Customs Enforcement compiled by the advocacy group Freedom for Immigrants, Mother Jones mapped all facilities currently working with ICE to detain migrants. The map shows a surge in for-profit detention centers, particularly in Louisiana and Texas, as well as an increase in the detention of families and kids.

While it’s not surprising that states along the southern border became hotspots for immigration detention, these three states’ detention capacity grew largely due to private prison contracts. As Mother Jones immigration reporter Noah Lanard wrote:

ICE had the capacity to detain only about 2,000 people in Louisiana and Mississippi at the start of Donald Trump’s presidency. But contracts signed with private prison companies in the past year have pushed ICE’s capacity in those states above 10,000 people. The horrifying conditions........

© Mother Jones