Private and county jails that ICE contracted with sat empty for a lot of 2020 because of the pandemic. The agency had to reduce the number of immigrant in custody due to safety reasons. Border agents turned most people back, but this has changed in recent weeks. Although the US has seen a significant decrease in the number of people being detained by ICE officers, the flow of migrants transferred from Border Patrol custody is increasing. Private prisons have seen their population quadruple.They have to balance both sides of this equation. John Sandweg, who was the Obama administration's ICE director, stated that they are in a tough spot. As long as there is increased border activity, these numbers will continue to rise.This presents a problem for the administration as it must deal with criticisms from both Republicans and advocates of ICE releasing more immigrants.Officials will have to decide what to do about immigrants who cross the border illegally. This is because of the upcoming reversal in Trump's policy Title 42 that allowed immediate turnbacks for immigrants to stop the spread of COVID-19.As key White House officials like Vice President Kamala Harris have publicly discouraged people trying to cross the border, the number of immigrant held in local and private jails has increased from 14,000 in the beginning of the year to almost 27,000 by June. However, the administration is divided over whether ICE should continue to detain people at the same rate as it has.According to BuzzFeed News' analysis of government data, the number of immigrants held by ICE has increased significantly under the Biden administration. This includes those who have completed their initial asylum screenings.According to Homeland Security officials, the influx can partly be attributed to increased immigration from Cuba and Ecuador, who crossed the border to become ICE agents after being detained. Officials say it is more difficult to remove these immigrants from the country.Paige Hughes, spokesperson for ICE, stated that more than 80% are transferred detainees originating from border arrests. According to the enforcement guidelines of the Biden administration, priority is given to immigrants who cross the border illegally after November.In April, there were just over 1,700 immigrants who passed initial asylum screenings. This allows them to file a claim for asylum in the US. Since then, more than 4,000 have been approved. This represents 15% of all detainees.Mauricio, a 28 year-old El Salvadorian, was one of those detainees. He had explained to US authorities that he had been threatened in El Salvador by gang members and was being persecuted for being gay. He is currently being held in a private Louisiana detention center.This is extremely difficult I am just about at the edge of collapse," he said to BuzzFeed News via a translator. The system has not seen any changes to favor immigrants.ICE relies heavily on private detention facilities to house a large portion of its detainees. This is despite President Biden's campaign promise to make it clear that the federal government should not use any private facilities for any type of detention.The numbers have fallen far below the peak ICE levels of Trump's former president. At one time, there were more than 55,000 immigrants. A number of other changes have been made by US officials to the way families are held in ICE detention centers. Officials began reducing the number of families held in Texas' ICE detention centers and instead have been keeping some in hotels near border states. After a period of time, the families are tested for COVID-19.The average length of time that immigrants are held in ICE custody has decreased. The average time spent in ICE custody by immigrants who are arrested at the border and taken into custody is now 19 days, a decrease from more than 100 days last autumn.Sandweg, who was ICE's former director, stated that the government is making serious efforts to reform the system. He said that while some detention is necessary for certain cases, it was not a good idea to detain so many people who have passed their initial asylum screenings.These screenings require immigrants to prove that there is a substantial chance they will face persecution or torture in their homeland. This is the first step of a long and complex process to obtain protections in the US. It was also the one that was scrutinized by the Trump administration.Many immigrant advocates expressed concern at the decision to transfer so many people to ICE custody. They met with ICE officials several times in recent weeks to discuss the matter.Biden's Administration was elected with the promise to end the detention system and invest in community support programs, rather than detention. Six months later, however, the trend lines have shifted in the opposite direction, according to Heidi Altman, policy director of the National Immigrant Justice Center. It is retrogressive, and it is an offense to immigrant community.Moreover, in recent weeks, leaders from border states have put more pressure on the Biden administration. Governor. Greg Abbott, Texas, who blocked Biden's plan to stop deportations for 100 more days earlier in the year, has promised to arrest anyone who crosses the border without authorization.