Congresswoman @RepRoybalAllard, Civil & Human Rights Leaders Call on Congress to #EndTheQuota on Immigration Detention Beds
Demand Comes as Congress Fails to Pass Comprehensive Reform Bill
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Washington, DC – Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), civil and human rights leaders, and a mother who spent six months in a government detention center today called on Congress to eliminate the arbitrary and costly immigration detention bed quota that mandates keeping 34,000 immigrants in jail on any given day. The groups’ demand coincides with today’s meeting of the House Appropriations Committee with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who oversees the DHS budget, including funding for maintaining the detention bed quota.
In the absence of leadership from Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill, the mass detention and deportation of individuals who should be on a path to citizenship continues at a rapid rate. As Republican leadership in the House of Representatives continue to hold reform hostage, reform advocates have begun to pursue all available avenues to achieve individual elements of reform to the current broken system. The elimination of the detention bed quota is one of several efforts underway to reform the system that should be overhauled in comprehensive legislation.
“The detention bed quota is irresponsible, both fiscally and morally. It simply does not make sense to require our immigration authorities to lock people up just to meet an arbitrary congressional mandate. Instead of this unnecessary quota, we should allow ICE the flexibility to find smart, humane, cost-effective ways of enforcing our immigration laws.”
“The failed War on Drugs, misguided mandatory minimum sentences and the boom in immigration detention have led to the largest prison population in the world and marked millions of men and women with a scarlet letter making it harder for them to work, raise a family, and even vote. “Bed mandates” are just a euphemism for mandatory minimums and Congress must repeal them now.”
“The quota incentivizes targeting people for deportation in order to fill jail cells. As politicians push for comprehensive immigration reform and relief for those subject to deportation, any meaningful reforms to the immigration system will be impossible without ending the detention bed quota.”
“I spent 6 months detained at the Eloy Detention center. The officers would tell us that we were just a number and that we deserved what was happening to us. It hurts me so much to see so much injustice and the severe trauma that my children have experienced.”