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Foster, Deutch Lead Effort Urging OMB To Remove Immigrant Detention Bed Quota From FY 2015 Budget

Feb 14, 2014
Press Release

Washington, DC – This week Congressmen Bill Foster (IL-11) and Ted Deutch (FL-21) were joined by 26 Members of Congress in urging the Obama administration to end the costly and inhumane practice of imposing arbitrary immigrant detention requirements.  In a letter to Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the group requests that OMB remove the requirement that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detain at least 34,000 people per day in detention facilities from the President’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget request.  

A copy of the letter can be found here.

“Such a requirement is contrary to the best practices of law enforcement.  Indeed, no other law enforcement agencies have quotas on the number of people they must keep in jail.  Eliminating the mandate would bring ICE in line with the best practices of law enforcement agencies, which are to use detention beds based on actual need and the potential risks posed by individual detainees,” the Members wrote.

“Moreover, the detention bed mandate is costly.  The Department of Homeland Security spends more than $2 billion per year on immigration detention, or $5.5 million per day.  It costs approximately $159 per day to detain an individual.  Instead, ICE should be considering alternatives detention, including ankle bracelets, curfews, telephonic and in person reporting.  Such alternatives cost between $.70 and $17 per person, per day.   

“We therefore urge the Administration to firmly oppose the detention bed mandate in the President’s Fiscal Year 2015 budget request and support providing ICE with the tools they need to consider alternatives to detention for eligible detainees.”

Twenty eight Members of Congress signed the letter, including Representatives Tony Cardenas (CA-29), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Lloyd Dogget (TX-35), Ted Deutch (FL-21), Keith Ellison (MN-05), Sam Farr (CA-20), Bill Foster (IL-11), Lois Frankel (FL-22), Alan Grayson (FL-09), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Luis Gutierrez (IL-04), Henry Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-1), Betty McCollum (MN-04), James McGovern (MA-02), Gwen Moore (WI-04), Jim Moran (VA-08), Beto O'Rourke (TX-16), Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Jared Polis (CO-02), Mike Quigley (IL-05), Charles Rangel (NY-13), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Dina Titus (NV-01) and Juan Vargas (CA-51).

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