(February 26, 2013, MIAMI, FL) – Over the weekend, just days before the March 1st deadline for the federal budget sequestration, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) quietly began releasing detainees from immigration detention facilities across the United States. ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said this is being done “in order to make the best use of our limited detention resources in the current fiscal climate.” Christensen did not disclose exactly how many immigrant detainees are being released or how much money this will save the government.

Several of Americans for Immigrant Justice’s (AI Justice) clients have been released from the Broward Transitional Center. AI Justice attorney, Jessica Shulruff, said, “I was thrilled to learn that several women I represent were released. One of my clients was the victim of domestic violence, and I have been trying to get her released from detention for more than nine months. Why it took the threat of sequestration for ICE to do the right -and cost-effective- thing is beyond me.”

BTC is a private detention facility, owned and operated by the GEO Group, Inc. The GEO Group, which reported revenues of $1.6 billion in 2012 and recently paid $6 million for the naming rights of Florida Atlantic University’s stadium, is paid an average of $122 – $164 a day for each detainee. The estimated cost to U.S. taxpayers of detaining Jessica’s client is $30,000.

Cheryl Little, AI Justice Executive Director, added, “ICE has needlessly detained countless men and women at great cost to U.S. taxpayers. These folks have lived here for years, worked hard, paid taxes, broken no criminal laws, and have U.S. citizen children. Families have been torn apart, and, as a result, the number of children in foster care is growing at an alarming rate. Many of them should not have been detained in the first place. Ironically, these are the very people who would benefit from a comprehensive immigration reform bill that both the Administration and Members of Congress from both parties support.”

Cheryl Little, Executive Director
305-573-1106, ext. 1001 [email protected]

Jessica Shulruff, Staff Attorney
305-573-1106, ext. 1410 [email protected]

AI Justice has been fighting for the American dream since its founding in 1996. One of the nation’s largest non-profit immigration law firms, AI Justice represents vulnerable immigrants at no charge. This direct service work informs its broader policy work. AI Justice influences national policy; successfully litigates or otherwise challenges patterns of abuse; and educates the public about the impact that immigration laws and directives have on our communities. AI Justice is dedicated to protecting and promoting the basic human rights of immigrants. Please visit for more information.