Detention Means Big Money for For-Profit Prisons

The Center for American Progress this month launched a series of infographics on the bed quota. Check them out!

A congressional mandate requires that Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, maintain bed space to detain 34,000 immigrants per day at an annual cost of more than $2 billion. This arbitrary number is unrelated to the agency’s actual bed-space needs, wasting taxpayer dollars and placing immigrants at risk of abuse and mistreatment in detention facilities. The detention bed quota increases revenue for for-profit prisons.
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The bed quota wastes taxpayer dollars that could instead go toward vital housing assistance services.
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While immigrants spend one month in detention on average, those fighting deportation cases are detained for more than three times as long, sometimes even for years.
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In order to fulfill the quota, ICE is detaining people who would otherwise be eligible for release.
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In the past decade, detention bed space has nearly doubled, and spending has increased more than 40 percent.
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