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Foster, Deutch Continue Effort To Eliminate Immigrant Detention Bed Quota

Mar 31, 2014
Press Release

Washington, DC – Today, Congressmen Bill Foster (IL-11) and Ted Deutch (FL-21) were joined by 77 Members in their efforts to eliminate the costly and inhumane immigrant detention bed quota.

In a letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Subcommittee on Homeland Security Appropriations, the group requests that the committee remove the requirement that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detain at least 34,000 people per day in immigrant detention facilities from the Fiscal Year 2015 Appropriations Bill.  

A copy of the letter can be found here.

Full text of the letter is below:

We write to express our concern that the Department of Homeland Security’s FY2015 Appropriations Bill might once again include a quota dictating how many immigrants U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement must hold on a daily basis. Often referred to as the detention bed mandate, this policy wastes taxpayer dollars by forcing ICE to forgo alternatives to detention that are far less costly and equally as effective.

We currently spend nearly $2 billion a year, or $5.4 million every day, on immigration detention. Each day, ICE is mandated to keep 34,000 detention beds full, which cost taxpayers approximately $159 per day for each detainee. Proven alternatives to detention, including release on bond, supervised release, and community based programs, cost between 70 cents and $17 a day, yet the immigration detention bed quota prevents ICE from using these alternatives, even in cases where release would be appropriate.

This arbitrary and costly detention bed mandate runs counter to the best practices of law enforcement. Indeed, no other law enforcement agency is subject to a quota dictated by Congress for the number of people it must keep in jail each day. Eliminating the mandate would bring ICE in line with the best practices of other law enforcement agencies that use detention beds based on actual need and the potential risks posed by individual detainees.

This year’s appropriations process represents an opportunity for us to correct course and end an ineffective approach to law enforcement that runs counter to our values and wastes hard-earned taxpayer dollars. We respectfully request that the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill for FY2015 exclude the ICE immigration detention bed quota.

The letter was signed by 79 Members of Congress, including Representatives Karen Bass (CA-37), Julia Brownley (CA-26), Tony Cardenas (CA-29), Matt Cartwright (PA-17), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Judy Chu (CA-27), David Cicilline (RI-1), Yvette Clarke (NY-9), William Lacy Clay (MO-1), John Conyers (MI-13), Joe Crowley (NY-14), Susan Davis (CA-53), Diana DeGette (CO-1), John Delaney (MD-6), Suzan DelBene (WA-1), Lloyd Doggett (TX-35), Ted Deutch (FL-21), Tammy Duckworth (IL-8), Donna Edwards (MD-4), Keith Ellison (MN-5),  Anna Eshoo (CA-18), Elizabeth Esty (CT-5), Sam Farr (CA-20), Bill Foster (IL-11), Lois Frankel (FL-22), Tulsi Gabbard (HI-2), Joe Garcia (FL-26), Alan Grayson (FL-9), Al Green (TX-9), Raul Grijalva (AZ-3), Luis Gutierrez (IL-4), Janice Hahn (CA-44), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Ruben Hinjosa (TX-15), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Rush Holt (NJ-12), Steve Horsford (NV-4), Jared Huffman (CA-2), Shelia Jackson Lee (TX-18), Hank Johnson (GA-4), Joseph Kennedy (MA-4), Derek Kilmer (WA-6), Barbara Lee (CA-13), John Lewis (GA-5), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-1), Carolyn Maloney (NY-12), Jim McDermott (WA-7), James McGovern (MA-2), Gwen Moore (WI-4), Jim Moran (VA-8), Jerry Nadler (NY-10), Grace Napolitano (CA-32), Gloria Negrete McLeod (CA-35), Beto O’Rourke (TX-16), Bill Pascrell (NJ-9), Ed Perlmutter (CO-7), Collin Peterson (MN-7), Chellie Pingree (ME-1), Jared Polis (CO-2), Mike Quigley (IL-5), Charles Rangel (NY-13), Bobby Rush (IL-1), Loretta Sanchez (CA 46), Jan Schakowsky (IL-9), Albio Sires (NJ-8), Adam Smith (WA-9), Eric Swalwell (CA-15), Dina Titus (NV-1), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Chris Van Hollen (MD-8), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Marc Veasey (TX-33), Nydia Velazquez (NY-7), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), Henry Waxman (CA-33), Fredercia Wilson (FL-24).

Foster and Deutch have twice introduced legislation to eliminate the detention bed mandate.