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The West Texas Detention Facility is an immigration detention center located in Sierra Blanca, Texas. Sierra Blanca is 88 miles from El Paso, Texas and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. The detention center has space for 1,053 inmates, and is used primarily to house individuals detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the United States Marshal Service.
Contacting the Facility
401 S. Vaquero Avenue
Sierra Blanca, Texas 79851
Contacting A Detainee
To speak to a detainee by phone, you will have to leave a message at the facility for the detainee to call you. (The facility will not connect you directly to the person.) Call (915) 369-2270, provide the receptionist with the person’s full name and alien number, and request a call back at a date and time of your choice. Detainees at the West Texas Detention Facility cannot make free phone calls. Thus, you will need to add money to the person’s phone account.
To deposit money in the person’s phone or other account, visit www.touchpaydirect.com. Click on “Make a Payment Now,” and create a new account. Otherwise, you can send an official money order to P.O. Box 430, Sierra Blanca, Texas 79851. After the money is deposited in the person’s account, he or she will be able to
To visit the a person at the West Texas Detention Facility, go at the following times:
- for males, Fridays and Saturdays between 8am and 5pm
- for females, Sundays and Mondays between 8am and 5pm
To visit a detainee, you must be on the visitation list. To get on this list, the inmate must add you to it when he or she undergoes initial processing.
To send mail to the person, use the following address:
Inmate Name and Alien Number
West Texas Detention Facility
P.O. Box 430
Sierra Blanca, Texas 79851
Contacting Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)
The ICE officers at the detention center in Sierra Blanca do not work there full-time. They drive in every day from the El Paso Service Processing Center. While they are at Sierra Blanca detention facility, they can be reached at (915)225-1940. When they are in El Paso, they can be contacted at (915)225-0700. Each detainee’s case will be assigned to a single deportation officer. Call him or her to check on case status and charges of removability.
The supervising ICE officer at the facility is Assistant Field Office Director (AFOD) Mark W. Howell. He reports to the Field Office Director, Adrian P. Macias, who works out of the El Paso Field Office, located at 1545 Hawkins Boulevard, El Paso, Texas 79925. The number for the El Paso Field Office is (915)225-0885.
Immigration detainees can sometimes obtain release on bond, before their cases are completed. Either ICE or an immigration judge can find that a person is eligible for a bond. To find out if ICE has set a bond amount, contact the ICE deportation officer assigned to the case. Call him or her at (915)225-1940. Or you can try calling the El Paso Service Processing Center at (915)225-0700. If the ICE officer says that the person is not eligible for bond, the person may nonetheless ask an immigration judge for a bond hearing. To determine your chances of getting released on bond, contact an immigration attorney in El Paso.
El Paso Processing Center
8915 Montana Avenue
El Paso, Texas 79925
6701 Convair Road
El Paso, TX 79925
The Removal Process
Inmates at the West Texas Detention Facility are almost always placed in deportation proceedings. The exception is when the detainee has been deported at least once before, in which case he or she may not receive a hearing before an immigration court.
Persons detained at the detention center in Sierra Blanca are driven for one hour to attend court at the El Paso Service Processing Center in El Paso, Texas. The court there is located inside the facility, and referred to as the El Paso Service Processing Court. The court has at least 3 active judges:
- Judge Guadalupe Gonzalez
- Judge William L. Abbott
- Judge Stephen Ruhle
As long as the person is detained, one of these three judges will determine whether the detainee is removed from the United States. If the inmate bonds out of the West Texas Detention Facility, then his or her case will be transferred to the non-detained docket at the El Paso Immigration Court.
Currently, it can take between 2-3 weeks for a person to see an immigration judge, from the time that he or she is detained. In fiscal year 2011, it took an average of 68 days for cases at the El Paso Service Processing Center to be completed.
The West Texas Detention Facility is an ICE-contracted facility, owned by Hudspeth County and operated by Emerald Companies. In 2004, the facility opened and began housing immigration detainees. In addition to ICE detainees, the facility houses inmates sent there by the United States Marshal Service (USMS). In 2007, an audit revealed that food service at the facility was deficient due to improper training, unsafe practices, lack of nutritional measures, deviations from sanitation guidelines, and irregular cleaning. In terms of environmental health and safety, the facility was also found deficient. According to reports, the facility lacked a comprehensive system for storing and maintaining inventories of hazardous materials. The facility was found deficient on numerous other grounds, including a lack of detainee grievance procedures, inadequate access to medical care, lack of clean clothes, and an inability for detainee families to leave money or property during visits. Despite these issues, the audit gave the facility a rating of “acceptable.”
The facility has bed space for approximately 1,000 detainees and takes in roughly 4,300 inmates per year.
If you are having difficulty locating someone at the West Texas Detention Center, you may want to try contacting any the following immigration detention centers:
- Laredo Detention Center (i.e., CCA Laredo)
- Port Isabel Detention Center (i.e., Los Fresnos Detention Center)
- Willacy Detention Center (i.e., Willacy Detention)
- Houston Immigration Detention Center (i.e., Houston Processing Center)
- Dallas Immigration Detention Center
- South Texas Detention Center (Pearsall ICE Detention Facility)
- Johnson County Detention Center (i.e., Cleburne Texas Jail)