ICE to transfer 1,600 detainees to federal prisons

ICE to transfer 1,600 detainees to federal prisons

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is transferring some 1,600 detainees to federal prisons, an ICE spokeswoman said Thursday.

The detainees will be split between five prisons, with one in Victorville, Calif., taking in 1,000 people, the spokeswoman, Danielle Bennett, said in a statement.

Bennett said that the decision was made in an effort to "meet the demand for additional immigration detention space, both long and short term."

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"To meet this need, ICE is collaborating with the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), the Bureau of Prisons (BOP), private detention facility operators and local government agencies," she said.

The need for additional space for ICE detainees comes two months after Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsRyan: 'The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally' Conservatives moving to impeach Rosenstein soon: report Senators urge DOJ to probe whether Russians posed as Islamic extremist hackers to harass US military families MORE announced a "zero-tolerance policy" for people who cross into the U.S. illegally. Unauthorized border crossings have also surged over the past year.

Reuters first reported the planned detainee transfers.

The detainee transfers signal the Trump administration's first large-scale use of federal prisons as President TrumpDonald John TrumpShocking summit with Putin caps off Trump’s turbulent Europe trip GOP lambasts Trump over performance in Helsinki Trump stuns the world at Putin summit MORE seeks to crack down on illegal immigration. 

"ICE continues to enforce immigration laws consistent with the administration’s directives and the law," Bennett said. "This includes ensuring sufficient detention space to hold aliens prior to removal or adjudication by an immigration judge."