Detention quotas are bad business

As the immigrant rights movement grows stronger, and as communities come together in defense of justice and dignity for all immigrants, we have the power to demand that the federal government eliminate the quota and stop the senseless targeting and incarceration of immigrants.
The immigration detention bed quota requires U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to lock up a minimum of 34,000 immigrants at any given time. This policy is unprecedented – no other law enforcement agency operates on a quota system. 

  • With a guaranteed need for detention “beds” or jail cells, the detention bed quota essentially forces the use of facilities that have poor track records in which innumerable human rights abuses and dozens of deaths have occurred. These facilities have issues ranging from no access to the outdoor space, maggot- and worm-infested food, and wholly inadequate medical and mental health care.
  • What’s more, the cost to maintain this unmanageable system is excessive. In 2012, ICE detained an estimated 478,000 immigrants and the current budget for ICE’s detention budget is just short of $2 billion. During a time of fiscal crisis, it is unacceptable to be spending billions in taxpayer dollars each year to needlessly detain immigrants to fill a quota.
  • Having a quota on how many people must be locked up every day puts a price tag on immigrant lives.  The policy leads to Congress and ICE treating immigrants as numbers filling a quota and products to be bought and sold, not as real people with children and loved ones depending on them.
  • The quota not only impacts the hundreds and thousands of immigrants that go through the detention system each year, but also the families and communities that that have been torn apart due to immigration detention.
  • The quota also incentivizes targeting people for deportation in order to fill jail cells. As politicians tout efforts towards comprehensive immigration reform and relief for those subject to deportation, any meaningful reforms to the immigration system will be impossible with the quota in place.

This issue has been brought to light by The Detention Watch Network, a national coalition working 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.
To learn more and participate in their call to action, visit
This video explains the horrors of the U.S. immigrant detention system.

Post by Shoshannah Sayers