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Foster, Deutch Announce Progress On Efforts To End Detention Bed Mandate

Apr 17, 2014
Press Release

Washington, DC — Today Congressman Bill Foster and Congressman Ted Deutch held a press conference call to discuss progress in their efforts to eliminate the detention bed mandate. The detention bed mandate is a requirement written into the federal budget that mandates Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detain at least 34,000 people per day in immigrant detention facilities.  Foster and Deutch were joined on the call by Joshua Breisblatt, Esq., Manager of Policy and Advocacy, National Immigration Forum and Royce Bernstein Murray, Director of Policy, National Immigrant Justice Center.

In February, Foster, Deutch and 26 Members of Congress wrote to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requesting they remove the detention bed mandate from their FY 2015 budget.  A copy of the letter can be found here.

Recently, OMB Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell responded, stating the Administration’s opposition to the detention bed mandate.  A copy of the letter can be found here.

In her letter, Director Burwell wrote:

“The number of beds utilized by ICE should be based on actual demand, to include those for whom detention is required by law (i.e., mandatory detainees) and higher-priority, non-mandatory individuals.”

She also expressed support for alternatives to detention:

“Lower-priority individuals should be placed in alternatives to detention programs, which may include electronic monitoring and supervision.”

“I am very pleased that the Administration has expressed their opposition to the detention bed mandate and are hopeful that support will only continue to grow,” said Foster. “I will continue to fight against this costly and inhuman mandate.”

“As Congress enters the appropriations process, having the Administration on record against the detention bed mandate is an important step forward,” said Congressman Deutch. “Ending the detention bed mandate would bring ICE in line with the best practices of law enforcement while protecting families and saving the taxpayers more than a billion dollars.”

More information on the costs of detention is available here.