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House Republicans Reject Effort To End Immigrant Detention Bed Mandate

Jan 15, 2014
Press Release
Foster, Deutch Introduce Amendment to Eliminate Detention Bed Mandate in FY14 Budget

Washington, DC -- Congressmen Bill Foster (IL-11) and Ted Deutch (FL-21) introduced the Deutch-Foster amendment to end the costly and inhumane practice of imposing arbitrary immigrant detention requirements. The amendment to the FY 14 Omnibus Appropriations Bill was rejected by the Republican controlled Rules Committee. 

The legislation would strike language in the appropriations for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that requires Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to have at least 34,000 immigrants in detention at all times.

“Mandatory detention comes at a high cost both for taxpayers and families who are torn apart,” said Foster. “Not only is this quota fiscally irresponsible, but it makes it impossible for DHS to make rational decisions about detention based on enforcement priorities and needs.  It is time to end this costly and unjust practice.” 

Immigration detention costs the United States $2 billion a year, which equates to $5.05 million a day, or $159 a day per detainee. ICE has continued to use detention as the primary method for immigrants facing deportation, despite other proven and less costly and more humane methods, like ankle bracelets and supervised release, that cost the federal government anywhere from 70 cents to $17 a day.

Moreover, immigration detention is not used to jail immigrants for criminal offenses, but instead is used to detain immigrants with civil charges related to their immigration status. If an immigrant commits a crime, their crimes are prosecuted through the criminal court system and they serve time in jail for their offenses.

This amendment would simply strike this language from the FY14 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which wastes taxpayer money and incentivizes the government to needlessly tear families apart.