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Highlights

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) was created in March 2003 as part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). From fiscal year 2003 through fiscal year 2007, the average daily population of detainees in ICE custody increased by about 40 percent, with the most growth occurring since fiscal year 2005. In fiscal year 2007, ICE held over 311,000 detainees at more than 500 detention facilities. Most of these were Intergovernmental Service Agreement (IGSA) facilities--state and local jails under contract with ICE to hold detainees. Some ICE detainees received health care services from IGSA staff, IGSA contractors, or community medical providers, and other ICE detainees received health care provided or arranged by the Division of Immigration Health Services (DIHS). DIHS is mainly composed of contract employees and officers from the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) Commissioned Corps--a uniformed service of public health professionals who are part of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and who provide services in different settings, including ICE detention facilities. In light of questions about the health care provided to detainees in ICE custody, Congress requested information about ICE's organizational structure and its health care resources for detainees. Our report provides (1) a description of ICE's organizational structure for providing health care services to detainees, which includes our review of the relevant agreements between DHS and HHS regarding DIHS; (2) information about ICE's annual spending and staffing resources devoted to the provision of health care for detainees, and the number of services provided; and (3) an assessment of whether ICE's mortality rate can be compared with the mortality rates of the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS)--two entities that are responsible for holding certain persons, such as criminals.

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