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Action via @NIJC: Tell Congress & Obama: Say No to Detention Bed Quotas

September 11, 2013

via Jennifer Chan:

La-Vision-credit---Reading2--stewartCongress returns this week from its summer recess, and will be taking up immigration reform sometime this fall. In the meantime, some representatives are building momentum to finally bring an end to the irresponsible notion that our country’s immigration enforcement policies should be driven by an arbitrary quota.

Representatives Bill Foster (D-IL) and Ted Deutch (D-FL) are circulating a letter this week to their colleagues in the House of Representatives asking them to call on the White House to remove the immigration detention bed mandate from its fiscal year 2015 budget request.

Tell your representative to sign this letter now.

Currently, Congress requires U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to detain at least 34,000 immigrants at all times under the annual Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations bill. President Obama also included a similar figure in his fiscal year 2014 budget request. In June, Representatives Foster and Deutch received unprecedented bipartisan support to remove the detention bed mandate from the DHS Appropriations bill, but it wasn’t enough to defeat the misguided pro-enforcement vote that enabled the mandate to survive.

No other law enforcement agency in the country is driven by a requirement that it fill its jails at all times — because this approach just doesn’t make sense. In an environment of fiscal restraint, the detention bed mandate is a poor use of government resources. Immigration detention costs the United States over $2 billion a year, or $5.05 million a day and $159 a day per individual. More humane alternatives to detention have proven effective and ensure that individuals attend their court dates and fulfill immigration judges’ orders — at a cost of only 70 cents to $17 a day.

The detention bed quota also undermines any attempts to reduce immigrant incarceration and end human rights violations in the system. Most detained immigrants are held in county jails or facilities run by private prison corporations, often hundreds of miles from legal counsel and anyone they know. Human rights abuses have been well documented at facilities across the country. Many immigrants in the system have strong ties to their communities and no criminal record, yet they must fight their cases from a jail—all so DHS can reach a quota.

Tell your member of Congress to sign on to the Deutch-Foster letter and demand that President Obama remove the immigration detention bed quota from his 2015 budget request.

Thanks for speaking out.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 11, 2013 4:04 pm

    “mis-guided pro enforcement vote”? You have hit the nail on the head. Whenever a “pro-enforcement” is noted as “misguided” there is nothing more need be said on what is wrong with this country.

    My ex came in on student visa yet never went to school and worked illegally for three years (student visa fraud). Got green card by not mentioning her first arrest for theft (material misrepresentation). Failed to mention it again when conditions were removed (again material misrepresentation). Has acquired four additional theft convictions (crimes of moral turpitude). Denied citizenship 2 years ago but continues to reside in US and break our laws. Goes in and out of the country like she’s a citizen. Unfortunately I found this all out after the fact. It’s ICE that needs reform not the immigration laws. And yes, all these allegations (and the supporting documentation) have been submitted to ICE, USCIS, Homeland Security, Obama, and numerous senators and congressmen

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