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Thu Mar 14, 2019, 03:42 PM

U.S. weighs plan to phase out family detention at Texas facility, despite migration surge

By Nick Miroff and Maria Sacchetti March 14 at 3:33 PM

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials are discussing a plan to phase out family detention at the Karnes County Residential Center in Texas, according to three Homeland Security officials, a move that would significantly reduce the government’s capacity to hold parents with children as record numbers of migrant families are crossing the U.S. southern border.

ICE would instead use the Karnes facility to house easier-to-deport single adults, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss plans that have not been finalized.

The Karnes facility is one of two large family “residential centers” ICE operates in South Texas, with a current detainee population of 528 adults and children. Families held there would be issued a notice to appear in immigration court and would then be released into the U.S. interior, according to two officials with knowledge of the discussions.

ICE also operates the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Tex., with a current detainee population of 1,456, as well as a much-smaller facility in Berks County, Pa., which had 12 detainees in custody on Thursday, according to ICE data.


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