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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily < Back to current issue of Immigrant's Weekly

Unaccompanied Juveniles in INS Custody
Report Number I-2001-009
September 28, 2001


APPENDIX III

Unaccompanied Juvenile Data

IN FY 2000 the Juvenile Program held 4,136 unaccompanied juveniles in custody. Presented below is a demographic description of this unaccompanied juvenile population. In addition, data on the length of time juveniles spent in custody, the principal apprehension locations, data on instances of secure detention, and the length of time juveniles spent in secure detention is provided.

Demographics of the Unaccompanied Juveniles In the Custody of the Juvenile Program, FY 2000

Based on first custody event for 4,136 juveniles in custody for greater than 72 hours.

3,113 (75.3%) Male; 1,023 (24.7%) Female

Age Number of
Juveniles
Percentage of
Juveniles
Cumulative
Percentage
17 or older
16
15
14
13
12 or Younger
1,516
1,145
638
296
154
387
36.5
27.7
15.4
7.2
3.7
9.5
36.5
64.2
79.6
86.8
90.5
100.0

Average age 15.3 years old; Median age 16 years old

Country of Origin:

Country Number of
Juveniles
Percentage of
Juveniles
Honduras
El Salvador
Guatemala
China
Mexico
894
717
656
617
541
21.6
17.3
15.9
14.9
13.0

Top five countries represent 82.8 percent of the cases;
The top ten countries represent 93.4 percent.

Time in custody for specific populations

Length of Time in Custody By Category

Based on 3,172 unaccompanied juveniles apprehended after September 30, 1999 and released before October 1, 2000.

All juveniles:

Mean      33.4 days
Median      19 days

Juveniles not Requiring Home Assessments:

Mean     28.9 days
Median     18 days

Juveniles Who Had Home Assessments (Chinese and Indians):
Based on sample from HAB of 280 Chinese Juveniles

Mean        146 days
Median      129 days

Apprehension locations for the juveniles

Apprehension Locations
Based on 4,136 juveniles detained in FY 2000 for over 72 hours

Location Number of
Juveniles
Percentage of
Juveniles
McAllen, TX BPS 1
Los Angeles, CA District
Del Rio, TX BPS
Miami, FL District
Laredo, TX BPS
980
393
281
259
241
23.7
9.5
6.8
6.3
5.8

These top five locations represent 52.1 percent of the cases.
The top ten locations represent 69.7 percent of the cases.
1 Border Patrol Sector

Instances and Duration of Secure Detention

In FY 2000, 1,414 (34.2 percent) of the unaccompanied juveniles in custody were housed in a secure facility at one point during their stay. These 1,414 juveniles represented 1,933 instances of secure detention. 43

Reason for
Secure Detention
Number of
Instances
Percentage of
Instances
Temporary Stays
Safety or Security
Adults, Juvenile Delinquents
1,147
422
364
59
22
19
Source: FY 2000 JAMS Database

The length of time in secure detention varies substantially depending upon the reason for placement. Juveniles temporarily placed in secure detention are generally there for a very short time before they are transferred to a shelter.

Reason for
Secure Detention
Average Length
of Detention
Median Length
of Detention
Temporary Stays
Safety or Security
Adults, Juvenile Delinquents
14 days
29 days
37 days
3 days
14 days
25 days
Source: FY 2000 JAMS Database

Juvenile-Days of Detention

In FY 2000, the Juvenile Program housed 200,361 juvenile-days of detention. Of these, 158,114 were non-secure juvenile-days (78.9 percent) and 42,247 were juvenile-days of secure detention (21.1 percent). Of the 42,247 juvenile-days of secure detention, 13,367 were for adults, or juvenile delinquents; 16,655 were for temporary stays; and 12,225 were for safety or security.

For every instance in JAMS, there is a book-in date and a book-out date. The difference between book-out and book-in dates represents the total man-days of detention for that instance. We added up the total number of man-days of detention for each reason for secure (or non-secure) detention to arrive at the totals below.

Total juvenile-days of detention:
   Non-secure juvenile-days:
   Secure juvenile-days:
      Adults, juvenile delinquents:
      Temporary stays:
      Safety or security:
200,361
158,114
42,247
13,367
16,655
12,225

78.9%
21.1%
6.7%
8.3%
6.1%
Source: FY 2000 JAMS Database

Limited Use of Foster Care

The INS had 36 foster beds with options for additional beds on a space available basis at three facilities. The INS uses foster beds for housing very young juveniles, girls, and juveniles in long-term detention because they do not have a sponsor.

The INS has had negative experiences with foster care. In the early 1990s, in one case, 130 Chinese juveniles were placed in foster care. More than 100 of these juveniles left the homes without notification. The INS cannot account for them. Because of this experience, the INS has restricted using foster care considerably.

INS managers stated several reasons for not expanding the use of foster care: the safety of juveniles smuggled into the United States, the welfare of juveniles placed in foster care, the desire of the juveniles to speak to someone in their native language, and ease of management. In foster care settings, juveniles are frequently alone without supervision, vulnerable to exploitation and abuse by smugglers. INS managers believe shelter care can provide closer and better supervision of juveniles with greater opportunity for shelter staff to respond to any physical or psychological problems of the juveniles. Shelter care and group homes provide juveniles a better opportunity to speak with staff in their native language and to interact with other juveniles who shared similar experiences. Finally, the managers stated that it is more difficult to manage and adequately supervise foster care beds.

Follow-up After Release

The INS makes follow-up contacts with the Chinese and Indian juveniles following their release to sponsors in the United States. The INS contracts with two volunteer agencies to conduct home assessments and follow-up reviews. The follow-up reviews consist of a minimum of four face-to-face visits at 14, 30, 60 and 90 days after release. The first and last visits are conducted in the sponsor's home. In addition, a checklist is completed at 14 days and reports are submitted to the INS at 45 and 90 days.

Follow-up visits to sponsors ensure that: the juvenile is safe and secure, the juvenile continues to reside in the home, the quality and arrangements in the home have not changed since placement, the juvenile is attending school, and the juvenile is not working. This last requirement is important because Chinese juveniles are pressured to work in order to pay off the debt owed to smugglers.


Footnotes
  1. Instances refer to unique custody events. An individual can have more than one secure custody event if he/she is transferred from one secure facility to another during their stay.


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