Detained In Danger:
The COVID-19 Pandemic Inside ICE Facilities

Compiled by the Harvard College Data Analytics Group
under the auspices of Human Rights First

This database tracks instances of COVID-19 in US. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) detention centers across the country. To date, ICE detainees have tested positive for COVID-19. This number continues to rapidly climb as facilities cramp detainees into small shared living spaces and ration personal protective equipment (PPE). In early May, the inevitable occured: after being denied release, the first ICE detainee tragically passed away from COVID-19. The map below provides an opportunity to learn about how the pandemic has infiltrated each ICE detention center differently. We then report data on testing administration and bring the map to life by tracking the lived experiences of detainees.

ICE Centers Ranked by Confirmed Cases

Select a facility from the list to view location and statistics.

Updated as of, November 12 2020

  • There are total confirmed cases among ICE detainees.
  • ICE has administered COVID-19 tests.
  • There are detainees in ICE custody.

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in ICE Detention Centers

Updated as of, November 12 2020

Select a facility on the map to view statistics or click a state to zoom in.


While this database aims to provide a complete visualization of the hidden epidemic, several limitations must be noted. First, by public health standards, ICE has not tested enough detainees; half of all tests yield positive results, so the total number of positive detainees may be higher than indicated by ICE. Second, ICE updates its data 2-3 days after detention centers confirm cases, indicating a time lag. Third, the data does not include information about positive tests among US Marshal Service inmates and facility staffers; most detention centers are multi-purposed to house both US Marshal Service inmates and ICE detainees.

Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in ICE Detention Centers

Updated as of, November 12 2020

What ICE’s Numbers Tell Us… And What They Don’t.

By Anna Duffy

Long before the pandemic, ICE detention centers gained a reputation for inhumane treatment, poor sanitation, and lacking accountability. Now, with a pandemic ravaging the United States, cases inevitably skyrocket in ICE detention centers. The facility conditions make observing CDC guidelines like 30-second handwashing, 6-foot social distancing, and 14-day quarantines impossible. Yet the already alarming positive case numbers reported by ICE only show half the picture.

Adelanto: A Look Into an ICE Detention Center Without a Major COVID-19 Outbreak ... Yet.

By Kathryn Kuhar

With a history of inadequate medical care and concerns about hygiene, Adelanto Detention Center has yet to experience a major outbreak. But, cases are starting to rise in California's largest ICE detention center. A look inside Adelanto in the months before the facility's first positive test result.

ICE Continues to Transfer Detainees Between Facilities,
as COVID-19 Cases Spike in Detention Centers

By Alex Domash

ICE is regularly transferring immigrant detainees between facilities, despite the high-risk of moving detainees during a pandemic. The transfer policy has shuffled thousands of immigrant detainees across the country in recent months -- helping COVID-19 to spread between detention centers.

Detained in danger at Otay Mesa: Over 200 detainees test positive for COVID-19

By Anna Duffy

At Otay Mesa Detention Center, hundreds of detainees test positive for COVID-19. Tight cell blocks, inadequate testing, and new ICE protocols like cohorting exacerbate the issue. One detainee cries, “we’re treated like animals.”


You can download our database as .csv files. The history of infections for each facility is provided here. Our data about the detention facilities can be found here. Please cite this project accordingly. For article related questions please contact Anna Duffy. For data and website related questions please contact Jakob Troidl.



This website is the result of a collaboration between the Harvard College Data Analytics Group and Human Rights First. The main authors are Anna Duffy, Paige Lee, Noah List, Jakob Troidl, Kathryn Kuhar and Alex Domash.

We use a webscraping algorithm to take a publicly-available ICE detainee COVID-19 count from


We utilized and modified a W3 template for the HTML and CSS of this website

Our map visualization was derived from the template by