Congresswoman Roybal-Allard, Civil & Human Rights Leaders
Call on Congress to End Immigration Detention Bed Quota
Demand Comes as Congress Fails to Pass Comprehensive Reform Bill
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Washington, DC – Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40), civil and human rights leaders, and a mother who spent six months in a government detention center today called on Congress to eliminate the arbitrary and costly immigration detention bed quota that mandates keeping 34,000 immigrants in jail on any given day.
The groups’ demand coincides with today’s meeting of the House Appropriations Committee with Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who oversees the DHS budget, including funding for maintaining the detention bed quota.
In the absence of leadership from Congress to pass a comprehensive immigration reform bill, the mass detention and deportation of individuals who should be on a path to citizenship continues at a rapid rate. As Republican leadership in the House of Representatives continues to hold reform hostage, reform advocates have begun to pursue all available avenues to achieve individual elements of reform to the current broken system. The elimination of the detention bed quota is one of several efforts underway to reform the system that should be overhauled in comprehensive legislation.
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40)
“The detention bed quota is irresponsible, both fiscally and morally. It simply does not make sense to require our immigration authorities to lock people up just to meet an arbitrary congressional mandate. Instead of this unnecessary quota, we should allow ICE the flexibility to find smart, humane, cost-effective ways of enforcing our immigration laws.”
Wade Henderson, president and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
“The failed War on Drugs, misguided mandatory minimum sentences and the boom in immigration detention have led to the largest prison population in the world and marked millions of men and women with a scarlet letter making it harder for them to work, raise a family, and even vote. “Bed mandates” are just a euphemism for mandatory minimums and Congress must repeal them now.”
Silky Shah, interim executive director, Detention Watch Network
“The quota incentivizes targeting people for deportation in order to fill jail cells. As politicians push for comprehensive immigration reform and relief for those subject to deportation, any meaningful reforms to the immigration system will be impossible without ending the detention bed quota.”
Berta Alicia Avila, a mother of 5 and immigrant in Arizona who was detained at Eloy Detention Center for 6 months
“I spent 6 months detained at the Eloy Detention Center. The officers would tell us that we were just a number and that we deserved what was happening to us. It hurts me so much to see so much injustice and the severe trauma that my children have experienced.”
The demand comes as national and local groups launch the End the Quota campaign to eliminate the detention bed quota from the appropriations bill. As part of the launch dozens of organizations are participating in a National Call-in Day to Congress. Follow the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #EndTheQuota.
Call recording: Available upon request.
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The Detention Watch Network works through the collective strength and diversity of its members to expose and challenge the injustices of the U.S. immigration detention and deportation system and advocate for profound change that promotes the rights and dignity of all persons. For more info go to: http://www.detentionwatchnetwork.org/
CAMBIO is a diverse group of organizations advocating for laws and policies that create a fair system for immigrants to become citizens; bans indefinite detention; allows due process for all Americans; makes enforcement systems accountable; protects civil and human rights; encourages a better border to protect the quality of life in the borderlands, prevents the abuse of vulnerable Americans; and keeps families together. For more information, go to: www.cambio-us.org. | Twitter: @CAMBIOToday.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the civil and human rights of all persons in the United States. Through advocacy and outreach to targeted constituencies, The Leadership Conference works toward the goal of a more open and just society – an America as good as its ideals. For more info go to: http://www.civilrights.org/