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Illinois in the ICE Age
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Illinois in the ICE Age

Once detained, many immigrants take a long, circuitous journey through various detention facilities. This map shows various routes taken by Illinois immigrants and raises the questions about how Immigration and Customs Enforcement handles detention and deportation.

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The Story Behind the Project

In a little more than a decade, immigration detention has tripled to more than 420,000 people in 2012. Critics say that the government’s increased criminalization and enforcement of migration has created a boom in profits for private prison companies and local municipalities at the expense of human rights.

The ICE Breakers team analyzed data obtained from ICE to trace the trajectories of the 915 people detained in Illinois who left ICE custody during November and December of 2012, from the time they were jailed until they were released, whether by deportation, transfer to another agency or some other means. It also offers a closer look at the journeys of seven people.

The data file used by ICE Breakers was developed for Chicago Migrahack by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. The data are part of a larger set of case-by-case ICE records obtained by TRAC under the Freedom of Information Act.

“Illinois in the ICE Age” won the best visualization team project prize at Chicago Migrahack. Judges said the project was a “complex analysis in an original presentation” and showcased “deep journalism that is ripe for further analysis and exploration.” A follow-up on the project is being planned by Hoy Chicago, a Tribune-published newspaper that is one of the largest Spanish-language dailies in the country.

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