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Over 60 National, State and Local Organizations Write In Support of Deutch-Foster Amendment

Jun 5, 2013
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, 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 legislation would strike language in the Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act that requires Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to have at least 34,000 immigrants in detention at all times.  Over 60 national, state and local organizations wrote Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi in support of the amendment.  

The full text of the letter can be found here and below: 

June 5, 2013

The Honorable John Boehner

Speaker of the House

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515


The Honorable Nancy Pelosi

Minority Leader

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515


Re: H.R. 2217 – Support Rep. Deutch’s Amendment to Eliminate the Immigration Detention Bed



Dear Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Pelosi:

As organizations that work to protect and advance the rights of individuals in immigration detention, we write to encourage bipartisan support of Rep. Deutch’s amendment (co‐sponsored by Rep. Foster) to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act, H.R. 2217, that would eliminate the immigration detention bed mandate.  Congress has mandated through appropriations that DHS maintain a daily immigration detention level of 34,000 individuals, a micro‐managing approach that does not exist in any other law enforcement context. DHS already uses a Risk Assessment Tool to help determine whether an individual presents a risk of flight or a risk to public safety and whether that person should be detained. Yet the bed “mandate” precludes the agency from making decisions about detention based on its enforcement priorities, policies, and need. It also makes increased efficiencies, effective alternatives to detention, and other cost‐savings efforts for taxpayers impossible – an irresponsible approach for the federal government to take when Washington seeks to reduce federal spending. Alternatives to detention have received bipartisan support for its cost‐savings from groups such as the Council on Foreign Relations’ Independent Task Force on U.S. Immigration Policy, the Heritage Foundation, the Pretrial Justice Institute, the Texas Public Policy Foundation (home to Right on Crime), the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the National Conference of Chief Justices.

Today, taxpayers pay upward of $2 billion a year to fund immigration detention, approximately $5.5 million each day.1 Decades ago, criminal justice and correctional experts observed that holding all individuals subject to incarceration in jails or prisons was unsustainable, unnecessary, and a wasteful use of resources. It is common in the criminal justice system to use an array of less costly custody options, such as electronic monitoring and house arrest, to meet pre‐trial and post‐sentencing needs. The federal sentencing guidelines expressly allow substitution of a prison sentence with alternatives to incarceration. The immigration detention system should follow suit and conform to established best practices.

We urge you to support this important amendment, which will eliminate this arbitrary immigration detention quota and save critical taxpayer dollars. Please feel free to contact Royce Murray at or at 312.718.5021 with any questions.



National Organizations

Adrian Dominican Sisters

All of Us or None

American Civil Liberties Union

American Friends Service Committee

American Immigration Lawyers Association

Americans for Immigrant Justice, formerly Florida Immigrant Advocacy Center

America's Voice

Arab American Institute

Congregation of St. Joseph

Detention Watch Network

Human Rights First

Immigration Equality Action Fund

Japanese American Citizens League

Justice for Immigrants

Justice Strategies

League of United Latin American Citizens

Lutheran Immigration Refugee Service

NAFSA: Association of International Educators

National Center for Transgender Equality

National Council of La Raza (NCLR)

National Immigrant Justice Center

National Immigration Forum

National Immigration Law Center

Physicians for Human Rights

Service Employees International Union (SEIU)

Sisters of St. Francis, Sylvania, OH

Sisters of St. Joseph, TOSF

Sisters of the Most Precious Blood, O'Fallon, MO

Sisters, Home Visitors of Mary

South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)

Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)

Southern Poverty Law Center

The Advocates for Human Rights

The Center for APA Women

UC Davis Immigration Law Clinic

Women's Refugee Commission


State Organizations

Advocates for Survivors of Torture and Trauma

California Immigrant Policy Center

Florence Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project

Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights

Legal Services for Prisoners with Children

Maria Baldini‐Potermin & Associates, PC

Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition

New York Immigration Coalition

Northwest Immigrant Rights Project


Pax Christi Florida

Political Asylum Immigration Representation Project

Scott D. Pollock & Associates, P.C.

Sisters of Mercy West Midwest Justice Team

Vermont Immigration and Asylum Advocates

Voces de la Frontera


Local Organizations

Capital Area Immigrants' Rights Coalition

Dominican Sisters of Houston

Gesu Immigration Study Group

Good Shepherd Immigration Study Group

Gospel Justice Committee Sisters of the Most Precious Blood of O'Fallon, MO

Immigration Taskforce, SWPA Synod, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

Justice and Peace Committee/ Sisters of St Joseph/West Hartford CT

Justice for Immigrants, District 4 & 5

Milwaukee New Sanctuary Movement

PCUN, Oregon's Farmworker Union

Reformed Church of Highland Park, NJ

Sisters of St. Joseph of Rochester

University of Miami School of Law Immigration Clinic