US detaining highest number of migrants in 17 years: report

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The U.S. is currently detaining a record number of migrants, hitting an all-time high with an average of 42,000 people in custody each day throughout fiscal 2018, according to multiple reports.

The number of people detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is the highest since the agency began tracking detention numbers in 2001, CNN reported. The monthly average numbers fluctuated between 39,192 and 44,699, according to data obtained by the network from ICE.

{mosads}The Daily Beast was the first outlet to report the numbers. 

The data indicates ICE has detained around 4,000 more people than Congress has budgeted for, the Daily Beast reported. CNN noted it is common for ICE to exceed the number of beds funded by Congress, using available funds and agreements.

“It is incredibly important that ICE explain how they’re paying for nearly 4,000 more beds,” Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) told the Daily Beast, adding that he believes ICE is “exceeding historic high water marks of detainees to pursue their ideologically driven policy agenda.”

The previous record high of those detained came last year, when an average of 38,000 people were held by the U.S., CNN reported.

“Ensuring there are sufficient beds available to meet the current demand for detention space is crucial to the success of ICE’s overall mission,” ICE spokeswoman Dani Bennett said in a statement to the network. “Accordingly, the agency is continually reviewing its detention requirements and exploring options that will afford ICE the operational flexibility needed to house the full range of detainees in the agency’s custody.” 

The Trump administration has requested around $2.8 billion to expand its detention capabilities, Bennett told CNN.

ICE did not respond to repeated requests by the Daily Beast to address how it is funding the extra beds. The agency drummed up controversy earlier this year when it redirected $200 million from other parts of the Department of Homeland Security to fund increased detentions.

The news of increased detention emerges as members of a so-called migrant caravan have begun arriving at the U.S. border, seeking asylum as they escape rampant poverty and violence in their home countries. 

Tags Detention ICE Immigration Jeff Merkley

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