Previously unreleased Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) data show that the number of migrants being held in detention centers, i.e. cages in the Deep South, have quadrupled in the past year, NBC News reports.
At the end of 2017, approximately 2,000 migrants were being detained in Louisiana and Mississippi. At the end of July 2018, that number had grown to more than 8,000, according to ICE data.
The majority of that number, 6,500, are being detained in Louisiana, which currently “has the largest population of ICE detainees of any single state apart from Texas,” CNN reports.
“It seems like every week we hear of a new detention center which is either being opened or repurposed,” Southern Poverty Law Center immigration attorney Emily Trostle said. When people are moved from one detention center to another, “they oftentimes don’t show up in the ICE detainee locator tool online,” she said, “so we’ve experienced many moments of panic where we learn that our clients are being moved. We don’t know where or why.”
This date has been made available following the ICE raids at several food processing plants across Mississippi during which approximately 700 migrant workers were arrested.