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Tour Our Facilities - El Centro

The Division of Immigration Health Services invites you to take a look at our unique facility location, El Centro, California, and the El Centro Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Service Processing Center and Medical Referral Center.


El Centro - "Where the Sun spends the winter," is, as its name implies, the center of one of Southern Californiaīs most promising new commercial and industrial areas. Not only the business and cultural center of the vast Imperial Valley, El Centro is the population center and county seat for Imperial County. At an elevation of 50 feet below sea level, El Centro (population: 37,000) is the largest town in the U.S. that lies entirely below sea level.

The multi-cultural community of El Centro has a rich agricultural history and indeed, agriculture continues to dominate the regionīs economy. The city is surrounded by hundreds of thousands of acres of prime farmland that has transformed the desert into one of the most productive farming regions in California. The year round growing season makes possible the constant availability of luscious fresh produce at roadside stands and markets. While summer temperatures are quite hot in the low desert, with daytime temperatures often exceeding one hundred degrees, the climate during the remainder of the year is extremely pleasant. Even on the hottest summer days, relief from the heat is a short forty minute drive west of town where the elevation climbs to 5000 feet and temperatures 30 to 40 degrees cooler may be found.

Located 120 miles east of San Diego, and 60 miles west of Yuma, Arizona, El Centro is rich in scenic beauty and recreational opportunity. The rugged beauty of the surrounding desert and mountain areas provide a striking backdrop for outdoor activities the year around. This nature lover's paradise is a convenient 90 minute drive from San Diego where El Centro residents can enjoy beautiful beaches, major league sports, and world-class dining and entertainment. Mexicali, Mexico, just ten miles from El Centro, offers nearly unlimited entertainment options from bullfights to ballet, and shopping to suit any budget.

Our Facility

Because of its proximity to the international border, the El Centro Service Processing Center is one of the busier ICE facilities in the nation. The facility maintains an average daily census of 500 to 600 adult males from over fifty nations throughout the world. All new arrivals are medically screened for infectious diseases, and primary medical care is provided to over one hundred detainees on a typical day in our ambulatory clinic. On-site dental care is provided, as well as mental health services by a full-time psychologist and a consulting psychiatrist. Radiology services are also provided on-site by trained staff.

Our modern facility (built in 1996) also boasts a ten-bed short stay unit (infirmary), which includes respiratory isolation units and observation beds. Nursing services are provided around the clock. Our medical staff consists of twenty-six full time employees, over one half of which are USPHS commissioned officers.

PHS officers and their dependents may take advantage of many amenities available on the El Centro Naval Air Facility, including shopping and recreational opportunities.

So, if you're interested in a career with a progressive health care organization in a challenging and interesting environment, check out El Centro!


DIHS Recruitment/ Retention Office



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