Timeline of immigration detention in the United States

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This timeline covers immigration detention in the United States.

It is a complement to the timeline of immigration enforcement in the United States and timeline of immigrant processing and visa policy in the United States.

See also List of detention sites in the United States fr a list of detention centers.

Full timeline

Year Month and date (if available) Event type Affected agencies (past, and present equivalents) Details
1892 Immigration inspection station Ellis Island becomes an immigration inspection station, handling immigrants arriving via the Atlantic. Immigrants could be temporarily detained upon arrival for closer examination, or to hold till they are deported.
1902 Immigration inspection station The Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital is opened. It is both a general hospital and a contagious disease hospital. It also serves as a detention facility for new immigrants deemed unfit to enter the United States or held back for further examination.
1910 Immigration inspection station Angel Island Immigration Station, an immigrant inspection facility with a detention center, opens for operations. It handles immigrants arriving via the Pacific.
2003 March 1 Organizational restructuring Immigration and Naturalization Services and U.S. Department of Homeland Security The Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) (that was under the Department of Justice) is disbanded. Its functions are divided into three sub-agencies of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security: United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
2003 Detention center The Willacy County Regional Detention Center opens for operations in Raymondville, Texas, operated by Template:WManagement and Training Corporation under contract with the United States Marshal Service.
2004 Detention center The Stewart Detention Center opens for operations in Lumpkin, Georgia.
2004 Detention center The Northwest Detention Center opens for operations in Tacoma, Washington, operated by Correctional Services Corporation on contract with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
2005 May Detention center The South Texas Detention Facility, a privately operated prison, opens for operation in Pearsall, Texas as the Pearsall Immigration Detention Center. The prison houses people for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as United States Marshal Service.