South Texas Family Residential Center

South Texas Family Residential Center Information

The South Texas Family Residential Center is the largest immigrant detention center in the United States It is located in Dilley, Texas and has a capacity of 2,400 The facility is intended to detain mainly women and children from Central America The facility is privately run by CoreCivic If you need information about a resident that is housed at the South Texas Family Residential Center, you may call (830) 378-6500 between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. The facility has been the subject of criticism in the past, with reports of poor living conditions, inadequate medical care, and allegations of abuse.

Inside South Texas Family Residential Center: A Comprehensive Overview

The South Texas Family Residential Center (STFRC) in Dilley, Texas, is a crucial component of the U.S. immigration detention system. Established in 2014, it serves as a dedicated facility for housing and providing services to families awaiting the outcome of immigration hearings or pending return to their home countries. This article aims to provide an in-depth exploration of STFRC, delving into its origins, purpose, amenities, and various aspects that make it a unique and significant establishment.

## The Genesis of STFRC

STFRC, located in the heart of Dilley, Texas, is owned by Target Logistics and operated by CoreCivic, one of the leading private prison management companies in the United States. However, it is the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) that maintains direct oversight of its operations.

The center's journey began in 2014, marking a pivotal moment in ICE's efforts to reform the immigration detention system. Its establishment was driven by a commitment to meet the unique needs of family groups and to ensure that the dignity and humanity of those awaiting immigration proceedings are respected.

The South Texas Family Residential Center operates under a framework of specific standards, including the Family Residential Standards (FRS) 2020 and the Performance-Based National Detention Standards (PBNDS) 2011 (Revised 2016). These standards set the stage for the center's operation, focusing on safety, security, and humane treatment.

## Key Facts About STFRC

### Purpose and Amenities

STFRC is distinct in its purpose and the amenities it provides. Its construction was meticulously planned, with particular attention paid to meeting the needs of family groups, marking a significant shift in the approach to immigration detention.

- **Freedom of Movement**: The design of STFRC allows individuals, including children, to move freely throughout the facility. Within its walls, residents have access to playrooms, libraries, exercise rooms, and more. The open plan is intentionally crafted to protect the safety and security of both detainees and staff.

- **Education**: A fundamental aspect of STFRC is the provision of education. Children residing in the facility attend school in classrooms staffed by bilingual, state-certified teachers. Parents, too, are not left behind, as they have access to English as a Second Language and other adult education programs.

### Open Plan and Security

The center's open-plan structure is a remarkable feature, offering unique opportunities for detainees. It allows them to move about unescorted, enabling access to educational and recreational activities. This setup is particularly significant because it facilitates contact visitation from friends, relatives, attorneys, and others.

- **Oversight**: The day-to-day operations of STFRC are contracted to CoreCivic, with ICE officers on-site to maintain communication and oversee the facility's activities. This integrated approach ensures that the center adheres to the Family Residential Standards and undergoes regular inspections. Moreover, a Detention Service Manager is assigned to guarantee daily compliance with the FRS.

### Capacity and Accommodations

STFRC is designed to accommodate a substantial number of individuals, and various amenities are offered to ensure their comfort during their stay.

- **Capacity**: The center can house up to 2,400 individuals on a property spanning almost 55 acres. The expansive grounds provide ample space for residents, allowing them to move freely and access the facility's various amenities.

- **Room Features**: Inside STFRC, each bedroom accommodates six to eight people, offering a comfortable and safe environment. These rooms are equipped with cable television, providing entertainment options for residents.

- **Recreation**: The center places a strong emphasis on providing recreational resources. These include exercise equipment, a soccer field, volleyball and basketball courts, board games, books, age-appropriate toys, and more. These options ensure that residents have access to activities that promote well-being and alleviate the stress associated with immigration proceedings.

## Additional Information

Beyond the fundamental aspects of STFRC, there are additional details that visitors, residents, and their legal representatives should be aware of:

- **Visitors**: Families residing at STFRC enjoy significant freedom of movement, with access to amenities available from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visitors are encouraged and can visit seven days a week between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Generally, visits last a minimum of 60 minutes, providing an opportunity for families to connect and spend quality time together. Longer visits may be authorized, especially for family members who must travel significant distances to visit their loved ones. The number of visitors during a single visit may be restricted to ensure the volume of visits remains manageable. It's important to note that adult visitors must present a valid, verifiable government-issued identification card to enter the facility. Additionally, minors visiting the center must be accompanied by an adult guardian (18 years or older), and they must not be left unaccompanied in the lobby waiting area, visiting room, or any other area within the facility.

- **Meals**: The facility's cafeteria is a central hub for residents' nutritional needs. It operates from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., providing three meals per day. Beyond these meals, nutritious snacks are available 24/7 throughout the facility. Additionally, residents have the option to purchase additional items from the commissary to cater to their unique preferences and dietary requirements. This flexibility ensures that residents have access to a range of food options.

- **Educational Access**: STFRC prioritizes the education of children residing in the facility. State-licensed teachers ensure that school-age children receive proper instruction. These teachers create a supportive and productive learning environment, which is essential for the children's development and academic progress.

- **Visitation Restrictions**: To maintain security and safety within the facility, specific restrictions are in place for visitors. Firearms or weapons of any kind are not permitted within the center. If visitors appear to be intoxicated, visitation will not be allowed. All visitors are subject to search while within the center, with these procedures designed to ensure the security and safety of residents and staff. Additionally, visitors are not allowed to carry any items into the visitation area. These measures are in place to maintain a secure environment for all who visit the center.

## Sending and Receiving Mail

Effective communication is crucial for residents at STFRC to maintain connections with their families, friends, and legal representatives. The center has established a structured mail system to facilitate this communication.

- **Mail Handling**: When residents receive mail, the letters must include the last four digits of the resident's A-number (File Number). To enhance the safety of the center, all incoming mail is subject to screening for contraband. However, it's essential to note that the content of the mail is not read upon opening. Instead, it is inspected by the delivering officer. This measure ensures that the communication process remains secure, and residents can maintain their connections with the outside world.

- **Postage Allowance**: Residents at STFRC have the option to purchase stamps for their own use. Generally, there is no limit to the amount of correspondence residents may send at their own expense. However, for indigent residents (those who have no means of financial support and no funds in their account), the facility provides a postage allowance at government expense. This assistance is a vital support system for individuals who may not have the financial means to cover the costs of postage


- **Mail Pick-up and Delivery**: The handling of mail is efficient at STFRC. All incoming mail is promptly delivered to the resident, ensuring that they can stay connected with their loved ones. Outgoing mail is equally well-handled and is routed to the appropriate postal office within 24 hours of receipt by center staff. A clear mail pick-up and delivery schedule is posted in all resident neighborhoods and appropriate areas, ensuring that residents are aware of the process and can utilize the mail system effectively.

- **Package Handling**: Families and friends can send packages to residents at STFRC. However, it's essential to follow the guidelines and seek prior approval from the Facility Administrator. These measures help maintain security and ensure that the packages do not contain items that could compromise the safety or security of the center. Furthermore, residents being removed from the United States are allowed one small piece of luggage. If a resident does not have such baggage, it can be sent or delivered after receiving approval from the Facility Administrator. It's important to note that for security reasons, certain electronic devices, such as cell phones, electric razors, laptop computers, radios, etc., will not be accepted.

## Feedback and Complaints

STFRC places a strong emphasis on providing quality service to residents, their families, friends, and official representatives. Feedback is encouraged, and there are channels for residents and visitors to express their thoughts.

- **Contact Information**: To comment on the services provided at the center, individuals can write to the Field Office Director, Enforcement and Removal Operations, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement at 1777 NE Loop 410, Suite 1500, San Antonio, TX 78217. This open channel for feedback ensures that the center can continuously strive to improve its services and meet the needs of its residents.

- **Complaints**: In cases where individuals believe that they were mistreated by an ICE employee or contract services employee, they have the option to make a complaint of misconduct. This complaint can be directed to the Field Office Director, the Office of Professional Responsibility, the ICE OPR Integrity Coordination Center, or the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General. This comprehensive approach to handling complaints ensures that individuals can seek resolution in the event of any perceived misconduct or mistreatment.

## Access Information

For the convenience of visitors and residents:

- **Parking**: Free public parking is available at the facility. Designated visitor parking is marked, ensuring that individuals can access the center without any hassles. The availability of free public parking is a practical consideration, making it easier for friends and families to visit their loved ones.

- **Accessibility**: STFRC is committed to providing accessibility for individuals with special needs. The center does not discriminate based on disability and ensures that detainees with disabilities receive accommodations as needed to access its programs and activities. This commitment to accessibility is essential in maintaining a supportive and inclusive environment for all residents.

# Final Thoughts

The South Texas Family Residential Center, located in Dilley, Texas, represents a unique approach to immigration detention. With its focus on family groups and the provision of amenities that respect the dignity and humanity of its residents, it stands as a significant milestone in the immigration detention system's ongoing reform.

Understanding the operations and features of STFRC is vital for anyone involved in or affected by the immigration system. Whether you are a visitor, a legal representative, or a concerned citizen, this insight into STFRC aims to provide clarity and transparency about the facility's purpose and amenities. By staying informed about the operations of STFRC and other immigration detention centers, we can engage in a more informed and constructive dialogue about the immigration system as a whole.

# FAQs

**1. Can detainees at STFRC receive visitors?**
   - Yes, detainees at STFRC can receive visitors seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. The facility encourages family connections and offers a flexible visitation schedule.

**2. Are there educational programs for children at STFRC?**
   - Yes, STFRC provides a structured educational program for school-age children. State-licensed teachers ensure that children receive proper instruction, contributing to their educational development.

**3. How is mail handled for residents at STFRC?**
   - Mail for residents at STFRC is subject to specific guidelines. Letters must include the last four digits of the resident's A-number, and all incoming mail is screened for contraband. The facility provides an efficient mail handling process to facilitate communication.

**4. What is the procedure for making complaints about employee conduct at STFRC?**
   - Complaints about employee conduct can be made by contacting the Field Office Director, the Office of Professional Responsibility, the ICE OPR Integrity Coordination Center, or the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General. The multiple channels for making complaints ensure that concerns are heard and addressed.

**5. Is STFRC equipped to accommodate individuals with disabilities?**
   - Yes, STFRC is committed to providing accessibility for individuals with special needs. The facility ensures that detainees with disabilities receive accommodations as needed to access its programs and activities. This commitment to inclusivity is an important aspect of the facility's operations.

Phone: 830-378-6500

Physical Address:
South Texas Family Residential Center
300 El Rancho Way
Dilley, TX 78017

Mailing Address (personal mail):
Inmate's Full Name & A-Number
South Texas Family Residential Center
300 El Rancho Way
Dilley, TX 78017

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How Do You Find Someone in the South Texas Family Residential Center?

How to Find Someone in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Detainee Locator

When someone that is not a US Citizen gets arrested in the United States, and they are here illegally, depending on what state or city they are arrested in, the person may be turned over to ICE. 

Many states such as New York and California, as well as hundreds of US cities, have declared themselves 'sanctuary cities' and do not turn over foreigners here illegally, even if they are committing crimes in their jurisdiction.

However, when an alien here illegally is turned over to ICE, and sent to one of the over 100 Immigration Detention Centers in the United States, the only way to try and locate where they are being detained is using the Online Detainee Locator System.

There are two ways to search for an ICE Detainee:

You can look them up using their assigned A-Number.

  • An A-Number is a 9-digit number that either looks like this: A-123456789, or like this 123-456-789. This is required if you do not know their name.
    It is also called a Registration Number when on a visa, or a USCIS# when on a Green Card.
    If for whatever reason the A-Number you have does not have 9-digits, you need to add 0s (zeroes) to the front of the number until the number has 9-digits.

    That number might then look like this:  001234567.

You can also try and look them up by using their name.

  • In order for this to be effective, you need to have the exact name that is either on their paperwork, or the the name with the exact spelling that they gave ICE. This is required.
  • You also need to know the country of their birth, or the country of their birth that they gave ICE. This is required.
  • Knowing their Date of Birth is helpful but not required to find them in the system.

Important things to know about using the ICE Detainee Locator

  • You do not need to set up an account to use the Detainee Locator System.
  • A-Number stands for 'Alien Registration Number'.
  • The System does not have information on all detainees in custody.
  • Juvenile names are NOT in the System.
  • The Detainee Locator System is updated every 8 hours, sometimes sooner.
  • If the detainee is being moved to a new facility, the new location will not be shown until they have arrived and are processed. 
  • No warnings or prior notice are given in advance of a detainee being moved.
  • While being transferred to a different facility they may still be shown online as being in the original facility.
  • If you are planning a visit, always call before you come to confirm the detainee is still at the facility and has not been moved.
  • To visit a detainee you must have some type of government issued photo ID, or other identification when photo identification is unavailable for religious reasons.
  • If you are unable to find the detainee using the System, contact the ICE Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in the area where you believe the person's immigration case was initiated or the Detainee Reporting and Information Line (DRIL) at 888-351-4024.

Pamphlets in various languages with Instructions on how to use the Online Detainee Locator System:

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Directions / Map to the South Texas Family Residential Center
Understanding US Immigration and Customs Enforcement

What is an ICE Detention Center?

Men, women, and children that are in the United States illegally and are apprehended by the US Border Patrol or ICE will most likely be placed in removal proceedings and may be detained in one of the more than 200 jails and detention centers that make up ICE’s detention system.

Many of the illegal immigrants that are detained are held in county and local jails that contract with ICE to detain immigrants. The rest are held in dedicated immigration detention facilities run by ICE or contracted to private prison corporations, including family detention centers that hold mothers and children.

What Determines if an Illegal Immigrant gets Detained?

ICE will typically detain an immigrant because DHS (Homeland Security) believes that an illegal immigrant is either a “flight risk” and may move to another location within the U.S. or that they pose a public safety threat. Detaining the person allows the government to guarantee that the person will show up for their hearing before an Immigration Court.

Some of the reasons that causes an illegal immigrant to get arrested and held in detention prior to their day in court is as follows:

The illegal immigrant has:

  • committed a crime, or multiple crimes
  • arrived at the border without a visa prior to formally applying for asylum or refugee status
  • an outstanding removal (deportation) order on record, either pending or past due, or
  • missed prior immigration hearing dates.


How do you find someone that is in an ICE Detention Center?

The first step to finding out if an illegal immigrant is in ICE or DHS custody is by using the ICE Detainee Locator.

It’s easier to find the person if you have an Alien Number (A#), if one exists. A green card or work permit will show this number. If you don’t have an A# the person is much more difficult to locate.

The information you will need is as follows:

  • the person’s full name as it appears in the ICE System. The exact spelling and the order of how the name is listed is required.
  • the person’s date of birth
  • the person’s country of birth

If you are having difficulty, try different spellings and the order of how the name is listed.

If the illegal immigrant was only recently detained, the ICE Detainee Locator may not be updated with the latest information. Keep in mind that ICE does not give information (online or over the phone) for people under 18 years of age. In such cases, you can only get information on them from the ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations field office nearest you.

If the person you are looking for is not in an ICE Detention Center, they may have been taken to a local jail that contracts with ICE, so contact their local City and County Jail, all which can be found here.

Another option, short of the expense of hiring an Immigration Lawyer, is to go to this website and use their online form to get their help.

Once an illegal immigrant is located and you find out the facility where they are being held you need to find out the Deportation Officer that has been assigned to their case. The Officer can tell you how to call or visit the detainee, or pay for the detainee to be able to call you, or how you can send any needed items such as clothing, prescriptions, etc.

The last option, and the most expensive, is to hire an experienced immigration attorney to assist you in tracking down the Deportation Officer. If the person being detained requires specific medical care, an attorney can ensure that they receive that care.

If the detained illegal immigrant has been deported from America previously or has an outstanding removal order - in which case they have no right to see an immigration judge - they can be removed within a few days, or even hours, of the initial arrest.

Even if the government does not immediately remove the person, it is possible that they can be moved around to different Detention Centers. There is never a warning that a person is being moved around and during the transfer there is a complete blackout of any information.

How long are people held in ICE Immigration Detention Centers?

The time that an illegal immigrant is held in an ICE Detention Center can vary. It all depends on several factors such as the individual’s personal situation, criminal record, the severity of the crime they are being charged with, previous deportations and the current caseload that the Detention Center is dealing with.

This image portrays the most recent data available on the time a detained illegal immigrant remains in custody before their release and/or deportation.

Can you visit someone in ICE Detention Centers?

The short answer is yes. The person visiting an illegal immigrant in an ICE Detention Center must be lawfully present in the United States. In other words the visitor must have some form of currently valid immigration status at the time of the visit. A detention center or jail will not allow the visit unless visitor can show valid I.D. and offer proof that they are lawfully in the United States.

If you want to become a volunteer that visits illegal immigrants in order to offer emotional support, it may be possible. You can join one of these visitation networks by going here and contacting the network in your area.

What crimes can cause an illegal immigrant to be deported?

(The following information comes from, a trusted legal resource)

  • Conviction of a crime involving moral turpitude (see list). This includes any attempt or conspiracy to commit such a crime. It does not include crimes that were committed that the illegal immigrant committed when they were under the age of 18 years, however the person must have been released from jail more than five years before applying for a visa or other immigration benefit. It also does not include crimes for which the maximum penalty did not exceed one year in prison and the person was not, in fact, sentenced to more than six months in prison.
  • Conviction or admission of a controlled substance violation, whether under U.S. or foreign law. This includes any conspiracy to commit such a crime.
  • Convictions for two or more crimes (other than purely political ones) for which the prison sentences totaled at least five years. This multiple-offense ground of inadmissibility applies whether or not the convictions came from a single trial and whether or not the offenses arose from a single scheme of misconduct or involved moral turpitude.
  • Conviction of or participation in (according to the reasonable belief of the U.S. government) controlled substance trafficking. This includes anyone who knowingly aided, abetted, assisted, conspired, or colluded in illicit drug trafficking. It also includes the spouse, son, or daughter of the inadmissible applicant if that person has, within the last five years, received any financial or other benefit from the illicit activities, and knew or reasonably should have known where the money or benefit came from.
  • Having the purpose of engaging in prostitution or commercialized vice upon coming to the United States, or a history, within the previous ten years, of having engaged in prostitution.
  • Procurement or attempted procurement or importation of prostitutes, directly or indirectly, or receipt of proceeds of prostitution, any of which occurred within the previous ten years.
  • Assertion of immunity from prosecution after committing a serious criminal offense in the U.S., if the person was thus able to depart the U.S. and has not since submitted fully to the jurisdiction of the relevant U.S. Court.
  • Commission of particularly severe violations of religious freedom while serving as a foreign government official.
  • Commission of or conspiracy to commit human trafficking offenses, within or outside the U.S., or being a knowing aider, abettor, assister, conspirator, or colluder with such a trafficker according to the knowledge or reasonable belief of the U.S. government. Also inadmissible are the spouse, son, or daughter the applicant if they, within the previous five years (but when older than children), received financial or other benefits from the illicit activity and knew or reasonably should have known that the money or other benefit came from the illicit activity.
  • Conviction of an aggravated felony, if the person was removed from the U.S. and seeks to return (this ground of inadmissibility lasts for 20 years)
  • Seeking to enter the U.S. to engage in money laundering, or a history of having laundered money, or having been (according to the knowledge of the U.S. government) a knowing aider, abettor, assister, conspirator, or colluder with money launderers.

These are the straightforward crimes that are mentioned in the immigration law. The statute also lists a number of security violations, such as involvement in espionage, sabotage, terrorism, Nazi persecution, totalitarian parties, and so forth.

Once an illegal immigrant is deported, how long before they can come back to the United States?

If an illegal immigrant has a deportation or removal order in their immigration file, it's possible that they won’t be allowed to enter the U.S. for five, ten, or even 20 years.

The applicable law comes from Section 212 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (I.N.A.).

Five-Year Ban: If they were summarily removed or deported upon arrival at a U.S. port of entry because they were found inadmissible, or if they came to the U.S. but were immediately put into removal proceedings and then removed or deported, they may be ineligible to return to the U.S. for five years. The five-year ban also applies if they failed to show up for their removal hearing in the United States.

Ten-Year Ban: If a ‘removal order’ was issued at the conclusion of their removal hearing in Immigration Court, they may not be able to return for ten years after their removal or departure.

Twenty-Year Ban: If they were convicted of an aggravated felony or have received more than one order of removal, they are barred from returning to the U.S. for 20 years. And if they entered without permission after having been removed, or illegally reentered the U.S. after having previously been in the U.S. unlawfully for more than one year, they may be barred from entering the United States for 20 years or permanently.

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