Skip to Content

Zero Tolerance: Border detainees no longer being released, sent to federal prisons

ABC 7 has confirmed the Federal Bureau of Prisons is transferring inmates from five federal prisons to make room for immigration detainees.

One of those prisons is the Federal Correctional Institution La Tuna, which has two facilities in Anthony, Texas, and one at Fort Bliss. As 230 beds are being vacated to make room for immigration detainees.

Immigration authorities told the Associated Press more than 1,600 people arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border, including parents who have been separated from their children, are being transferred to federal prisons.

Historically, immigrants without serious criminal records were released from custody while they pursued asylum or refugee status. The Trump administration has ended that policy as part of its new “zero tolerance” policy.

Leticia Zamarripa with the Department of Homeland Security released the following statement to ABC-7 this morning:

“Due to the current surge in illegal border crossings and implementation of the U.S. Department of Justice’s zero-tolerance policy, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is working to meet the demand for additional immigration detention space, both long and short term. 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.

“To meet the immediate need, ICE has entered into inter-agency agreements with BOP to acquire access to more than 1,600 additional beds at BOP facilities. The use of BOP facilities is intended to be a temporary measure until ICE can obtain additional long-term contracts for new detention facilities or until the surge in illegal border crossings subsides.

“ICE continues to enforce immigration laws consistent with the Administration’s directives and the law. This includes ensuring sufficient detention space to hold aliens prior to removal or adjudication by an immigration judge.”

The other Federal prisons included in the transfer are 1,000 beds from Victorville, California; 209 beds from SeaTac, Washington; 130 beds from Seridan, Oregon and 102 beds from FCI in Phoenix, Arizona.

The American Civil Liberties Union is seeking a court injunction to stop immigration authorities from separating parents from their young children.

On Wednesday, a federal judge in California ruled that a case involving two mothers could go forward, saying that if the policy was being carried out as described in the lawsuit, it is “brutal, offensive, and fails to comport with traditional notions of fair play and decency.”

Article Topic Follows: News

Jump to comments ↓

Author Profile Photo



KVIA ABC 7 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content