The Top 5 States With the Most Immigrant Family Detention Centers

immigrant family detention centers

We live in complicated times. North America is the freest place on earth, but that freedom doesn’t apply to everyone. Especially not to those escaping the harsh realities of their native country.

Immigrants come from far and wide to escape poverty and violence just for existing. Unfortunately, our country chooses not to accept many of these immigrants. With this lack of acceptance comes the highly controversial detention centers.

More and more immigrant family detention centers pop up as time crawls on. Here are the five top offending states.


There are hundreds of detention centers in the US. In fact, there’s at least one in every state. However, Texas leads the march by a decent margin.

There are 184 total ICE detention centers in Texas alone. Texas is responsible for detaining nearly 16,000 immigrants at a time.

Texas’ detention centers are some of the most highly populated in the country. Because of this, supplies aren’t always sufficient, and ideal conditions aren’t always met. This was made tragically clear when a man took his own life at one of the centers.

The unnamed man is the ninth reported suicide in the fiscal year. There were a total of eight suicides in the previous fiscal year. Even if slight, this shows an upward trend in suicides in detention centers.

The tragedy took place at Karnes, a center only 160 miles from the border. The man was in the middle of a legal battle for his freedom. His lawyers suspect this won’t be the last unnecessary death.

Karnes, like many detention centers, isn’t known to have great conditions. Reports claim they’re told to use body wash to sanitize their hands. Two immigrants claimed they got sick by drinking water provided by the center.

If this story doesn’t convince you that there’s a problem, nothing will.


California comes in close second, with 120 ICE detention centers.

One of the only ways to get immigrants out of detention centers is through immigration bonds. Unfortunately, many immigrant families cannot afford these.

In contrast, California is also one of the most sanctuary-city heavy states in the country. It’s easy to see the discord here between the government and the citizens.

Sanctuary cities are locations where ICE has much less authority. These places refuse to cooperate with ICE and government deportation processes. They seek to educate everyone on what they can do to help immigrants avoid deportation.

Unsurprisingly, there are heavy immigrant populations in sanctuary cities. These are some of the few places that they feel safe in their community. Sanctuary cities offer services that help immigrants become legal and integrate into society.

For anyone outside of these cities, however, detainment is a very real threat. If you know an immigrant family in California, educate them about sanctuary cities. It could be the difference between freedom and detainment.


There are 78 detainment centers in Colorado.

Colorado is another state with a lot of sanctuary communities. Considering this, it shows a pattern in deportations. ICE knows where immigrants flee, and sets up detainment centers accordingly.

In March 2020, 10 immigrants in the center were suspected to have come in contact with COVID-19. This caused a bit of panic at the privately-owned center.

While there are no confirmed cases yet, these 10 were quarantined for monitoring. All social visitation was suspended, and health measures were boosted. According to ICE, they’ve got it handled.

But if first-hand reports from detainees are to be trusted, ICE hasn’t been entirely transparent in the past. What goes on behind detention center walls is only 100% clear to those inside. We have no reason not to believe them, but we do have reason to be wary.

New York

New York is just behind Colorado, with 76 detainment centers total. Surprise surprise, they’re having a bit of a COVID-19 scare, too.

With the rise of the deadly COVID-19, there has been an increased push to free immigrants in New York. Detained immigrants range widely in age. Whether you’re a baby or an octogenarian, it makes no difference to ICE.

Babies and the elderly are at the highest risk for COVID-19. While most young people recover, many elderly patients face death if they’re infected. Since detainment centers are so compact, the chances of contracting COVID-19 are very high in these facilities.

To make matters worse, hygiene supplies are limited in detainment centers. There’s often not enough for everyone, especially at a volatile time like this.

Immigration lawyers across the state have banded together for immigrant justice. They’ve filed dozens of requests to free the immigrants at high risk. Whether the government will listen or not remains to be seen.


Florida is another one that’s not too surprising.

There are 60 detention centers in Florida. The Florida detention centers seem to be among the worst. They offer their detainees the bare minimum in almost every way.

The Miami Herald sent their reports for tours of some Florida facilities. They interviewed detainees, and told their stories. Their findings weren’t exactly positive.

One detainee reported insufficient accommodations for the mobility impaired. People in wheelchairs were assigned to top-bunks with no consideration for their impairments. Medical care was also lacking, with little more than Ibuprofen being provided for something as serious as broken bones.

And these are just a few of the issues Florida detainees face every day. Whether you’re a child or an adult, exposure to these conditions are life-threatening.

Make Immigrant Family Detention Centers a Thing of the Past

Nobody should be subject to the conditions of immigrant family detention centers. Behind those walls, children are losing their parents, and sickness is running rampant. We need to stand together and support these immigrants.

There’s always enough freedom to go around.

If you’re looking for a nationwide immigration bond service, see what we can do for you. Contact us with any comments or questions.

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