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Math of Immigration Detention report issued by @ImmPolitic

August 22, 2012

Re-posted from the National Immigration Forum

The Forum’s “Math of Immigration Detention” analysis is back by popular demand!  We have updated calculations showing how much is spent per day on the steep cost of immigration detention and the over-reliance on detention generally.

The new analysis is available here:

A few highlights:

  • ICE’s use of discretion has been limited so far, and resources are still used to detain and deport aspiring citizens who pose no risk. Wise use of prosecutorial discretion is a huge opportunity to reshape our vast immigration detention system, yet the opportunity is being squandered.
  • For the Fiscal Year that begins October 1, 2012 (Fiscal Year 2013), DHS and the White House requested $1.959 billion for DHS Custody Operations. This funding level would amount to $5.4 million per day spent on immigration detention.
  • The current cost to detain an immigrant is approximately $164 per day at a capacity of 32,800 daily detention beds. Congress would spend even more.
  • Many of these detention dollars flow to enormous private prison corporations that stand to reap significant profits when more and more immigrants are detained.
  • Less wasteful and equally effective alternatives to detention exist. They range in cost from as low as 30 cents to $14 a day. If only individuals convicted of serious crimes were detained and less expensive alternative methods were used to monitor the rest of the currently detained population, taxpayers could save more than $1.6 billion per year—over an 80% reduction in annual costs.
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