A nonpartisan think tank says that improved record-keeping could ensure U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement keeps dangerous immigrants in custody while operating its sprawling detention system safely and lawfully, reports the Associated Press. The Washington-based Migration Policy Institute notes gaps in the information ICE uses to track the more than 33,000 people in its nationwide system of jails and detention centers that hold immigrants awaiting court hearings or deportation.
The gaps include whether a detainee is dangerous or might have a claim to U.S. citizenship, making it hard for the agency to ensure the system operates legally and efficiently, said Donald Kerwin, one of the report’s authors. The group’s report is based on data in records obtained by The Associated Press through Freedom of Information Act requests. The AP reported in March that more than half of jailed immigrants held by ICE on a single January night had not been convicted of a crime and nearly a third had been held longer than the 31-day average stay reported by the agency.