Since June 20, 2008, James T. Hayes, Jr. has served as Acting Director for the Office of Detention and Removal Operations (DRO), within U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Through the fair enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws, DRO promotes public safety and national security by ensuring the departure of all removable aliens from the United States. In this capacity, Mr. Hayes is responsible for employing DRO resources to detain certain aliens while their cases are being processed and to remove them from the United States when so ordered. Mr. Hayes has direct operational oversight of five major program divisions and 24 field offices, accountability for the execution of a $2.46 billion dollar budget and the management of approximately 7,000 staff. He has responsibility for all detention programs managed by Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies and private contractors in support of the ICE mission. On any given day, DRO houses up to 33,000 immigrant detainees in more than 300 facilities nationwide. As such, more than 345,000 are expected to pass through DRO detention in Fiscal Year 2008.
Prior to being selected as Acting Director, from April to June 2008, Mr. Hayes served as the DRO Assistant Director for Enforcement Operations. In this capacity, Mr. Hayes was responsible for ensuring program effectiveness within DRO’s Enforcement Divisions and in the monitoring of field enforcement activities. This included independently planning and directing the Criminal Alien Division, Compliance Enforcement Division, Response Coordination Division, and the Executive Information Unit. As Acting Assistant Director for Enforcement Operations, Mr. Hayes implemented an extremely high profile and successful initiative, Operation Repeat Offender. Partnering with the United States Attorney’s Office, this initiative has increased criminal prosecutions of violent, recidivist criminal aliens along the southwest border with a focus on increased deterrence and reduced recidivism. Through the efforts of Mr. Hayes, this operation was expanded nationally to include all 24 DRO field offices.
From January to March 2008, Mr. Hayes was assigned as the Acting Assistant Director for Field Operations. In this position he was responsible for the monitoring of all field activities, ensuring policy consistency, and responding to field office needs. He provided executive leadership to managers and supervisors that extended to all aspects of DRO’s program responsibilities, including budgetary and operational management. During Mr. Hayes’ tenure in this position, he implemented “DROSTAT,” a nationwide statistical tracking report. DROSTAT integrates information from DRO’s various information systems and is designed to track the productivity and efficiency of each of the 24 DRO field offices.
Prior to these executive leadership assignments, Mr. Hayes held a variety of positions. He began his career as a Border Patrol Agent in Del Rio, Texas and subsequently served as a Deportation Officer in Los Angeles, California, and a Special Agent in Orange County, California. Mr. Hayes’ managerial experience includes assignments as the Section Chief of ICE’s National Security Unit, Acting Unit Chief of ICE’s National Security Unit and Contraband Smuggling Unit, and the Field Office Director for the ICE DRO Los Angeles Field Office.
Mr. Hayes holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Administration from Park University and is a member of the Senior Executive Service.