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Tour Our Facilities - Port Isabel

Immigration Health Services

Service Processing Center, Medical Services

Los Fresnos, Texas

Who we are:

With 347 acres we are the largest of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention centers. The center lies a few miles west of the resort beaches of South Padre Island and 30 miles north of Mexico and its cities. The center also adjoins the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife refuge, renowned for its variety of migratory birds and endangered wetlands. We employ 14 highly motivated PHS Commissioned Corps Officers and 18 dedicated contract service workers. MDs, Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants, Registered Nurses, LVNs, Medical Technicians, X-ray Technicians and MRTs make up some of the staff at Port Isabel.

What we do:

Most of INS patients at Port Isabel are economic migrants to the United States. The average stay lasts from two weeks to a month. The facility is a minimum security facility that processes about 1600 males and females each month. We also care for 120 unaccompanied minors (children) housed in group homes in the local community. Many of the detained immigrants have infectious diseases that were acquired prior to entry into the United States. While we promote global disease prevention our focus is infectious disease.

How we do it:

We have applied cutting edge technology (teleradiology and negative pressure isolation rooms). We utilized screening, physicals, sick call and education to accomplish our mission. We also respond to international crises. In 1990, the population swelled to 2,500 in response to a mass influx of Central American refugees fleeing chaotic conditions in their home countries. Our staff also supports deployments to the Pacific islands, Guatemala and most recently the Florida Straits.

What makes us different:

Our staff has become adept at identifying and treating diseases rarely seen in the United States such as malaria and dengue fever. At times we are required to facilitate mass movement and medical support to avoid adverse weather conditions such as hurricanes. We are a very diverse and active location. A runway next to the camp is used for private pilot training but also for high-speed automobile chase training for local law enforcement. We have border patrol, immigration and supportive facilities such as firing ranges that make us a dynamic and challenging site. We are proudly both National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC) and Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization (JCAHO) accredited.

Where we are going:

We anticipate growth with a new 42 bed hospital that is expected to be built in the next few years. We expect more opportunities for all health care providers on all levels. We would like to challenge those interested to be on the border of something new and exciting.


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