DWN Reacts to Skyrocketing Detention Numbers as ICE Director Sarah Saldaña Promotes Profiteering

For Immediate Release: 
Friday, October 21, 2016
Statement from Detention Watch Network (DWN) Co-Director Silky Shah on emerging details of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) holding more than 40,000 people in detention while entering into and renewing contracts for increased detention capacity:

“With recent reports of detention numbers at a record breaking high of over 40,000 people behind bars -- Detention Watch Network calls on Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Jeh Johnson, to immediately intervene in operations at ICE. It’s clear that these inconceivable numbers are the result of ICE Director Sarah Saldaña’s mismanagement of an agency that has proven time and again that it is incapable of caring for people in its custody.

ICE’s decision to enter into and renew contracts with private prison companies and county jails for increased detention capacity, is the latest shameful effort to feed the financial market of immigrant incarceration. 

Particularly troubling, is ICE’s contract renewal of the Dilley Family Detention Center in Texas, which is run by the notorious private prison company Corrections Corporation of America (CCA). This action by Director Saldaña shows she’s a conduit for the profiteers. This preemptive act is all the more concerning given the Homeland Security Advisory Council’s pending investigation on the use of private prisons in ICE detention.

To protect the integrity of the investigation, Secretary Johnson must intervene to end ICE’s appalling and rampant expansion. If Secretary Johnson does not immediately act, it will be a clear indication of how seriously he will consider the forthcoming recommendations of the investigation, and will ultimately call into question the validity of the investigation itself.”


Detention Watch Network (DWN) is a national coalition of organizations and individuals working to expose and challenge the injustices of the United States’ immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons. Founded in 1997 by immigrant rights groups, DWN brings together advocates to unify strategy and build partnerships on a local and national level to end immigration detention.