Unequal Outcomes: Most ICE Detainees Held In Rural Areas Where Deportation Risks Soar

That is a mounting concern for those who advocate on behalf of immigrants, because detainees in rural areas are facing higher barriers to obtaining a lawyer, more likely to have their asylum cases denied and more likely to be deported to their home countries.

News Story (NATIONAL)

Yuki Noguchi
National Public Radio (NPR)
August 15, 2019

Tags: Immigration


In fact, only a minority of detainees have lawyers at all. According to a 2015 studypublished in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, only 14% of immigrant detainees have legal representation. Those in urban areas are at least four times more likely to have an attorney.

Last year, the Southern Poverty Law Center sued ICEand its parent agency, the Department of Homeland Security, alleging the agency was deliberately detaining people in rural areas far from legal resources.

ICE, which currently detains 55,530 undocumented immigrants, declined to comment on that lawsuit. In an emailed statement, a spokesman said ICE considers proximity to airports, health care and legal resources when selecting facilities. He also says detainees have access to phones and video teleconferencing and can also meet with their attorneys during visiting hours.