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INS Detention and Removal: A "White Paper"

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1997
64 pages
This study considers the limitations of the Immigration and Naturalization Services' (INS) current detention strategies and explores improvements and alternatives.
The study is based primarily on personal and telephone interviews with INS personnel in Washington, D.C., and at the regional and district levels; visits to Service Processing Centers and other alien processing and detention sites in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Oakdale, and San Diego; and a review of government documents and outside studies that bear on the INS's detention policies and performance. The study was conducted between June and September 1996. The author concludes that little else that the INS does with respect to enforcement will matter unless aliens know that they will be detained for a significant period of time if and when they are apprehended. This means that the INS must enlarge its capacity to detain aliens, which leads to the general strategies and specific policy options presented in this report. Seven strategies that overlap one another are profiled: prevention, diversion and "softer" detention, more efficient review processes, more efficient removal processes, logistical support, criminal prosecutions, and detention management. For each strategy the report recommends a number of legal, policy, and administrative changes that might contribute to the strategy's implementation. The major principles of the proposed ideal detention system are equality of treatment and cost-effectiveness. 33 footnotes

Date Published: January 1, 1997