PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch, Bill Foster, and Adam Smith Introduce Bill Banning Local Immigrant Detention Quotas
Today, U.S. Reps. Ted Deutch (FL-21), Bill Foster (IL-11), and Adam Smith (WA-9) introduced H.R. 2808, the Protecting Taxpayers and Communities from Local Detention Quotas Act. This legislation would prohibit U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) from entering into contracts that provide specific detention centers with prepaid, guaranteed numbers of detainees each day. While Congress has mandated since 2009 that ICE keep at least 34,000 undocumented immigrants in detention each day, new research released last week by Detention Watch Network exposed the inclusion of daily detainee quotas in ICE contracts with at least 15 for-profit detention centers nationwide.
"The use of guaranteed minimums in detention center contracts incentivizes ICE to incarcerate as many immigrants as possible at a great cost to taxpayers and to communities,” said Congressman Ted Deutch. “Congress could save taxpayers nearly $15 billion over the next decade by ending the federal bed mandate and embracing alternatives to detention that are equally effective and far more humane at a fraction of the cost. As we continue efforts to end the misguided policy of mandatory detention, we must take action now to prevent ICE from signing contracts that institute new bed quotas at the local level."
“Immigrant detention quotas and guaranteed minimums are a costly and inhumane practice that provide a perverse incentive to incarcerate immigrants and tear apart families,” said Foster. “As a businessman, I know that incentives can drive demand – incentives like this create an artificial demand for immigrant detention. While we continue efforts to eliminate the detention bed mandate, ending these prepaid detention contracts is one step towards making our immigration practices more humane and fiscally responsible.”
“Individuals should be detained only in cases where the government has proved that no other method is feasible,” said Congressman Smith. “Yet, indiscriminate bed minimums continue to incentivize the inhumane and arbitrary detention of thousands for whom we have no justifiable reason to detain. As long as they exist, for-profit prison corporations will continue to benefit from these bed minimums at the expense of American taxpayers and detainees. I applaud Congressman Deutch’s continued leadership on this issue and will continue to work with him to repeal bed minimums.”
A copy of the Protecting Taxpayers and Communities from Local Detention Quotas Act is available here.