Congressman Smith Statement on Amendment to End Detention Bed Mandate

Rules Committee Rejects Amendment to End Detention Bed Mandate

October 2, 2015

Congressman Adam Smith joined Representatives Deutch, Foster, Watson Coleman, Castro and Polis in offering an amendment to remove the detention bed quota from the short-term Continuing Resolution for Fiscal Year 2016.  

“The detention bed mandate, first passed by Congress in 2009 and included in annual appropriations legislation, requires U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to fill 34,000 detention beds for immigrants at any given time. Rather than targeting enforcement toward individuals who pose legitimate risks to our community, this indiscriminate quota incentivizes the inhumane and arbitrary detention of thousands for whom we have no justifiable reason to detain in these facilities.”

“Due in large part to the misguided detention bed mandate, large, for-profit prison corporations that have the resources to build and maintain detention centers are left in charge of operating these facilities at a high cost to taxpayers, detainees and families of those affected,” said Congressman Smith, who has introduced the Accountability in Immigration Detention Act to address our broken immigration policy. 

On September 30, 2015, the amendment was rejected by the House Rules Committee. Congressman Smith will continue to work with his colleagues to rectify this issue at the next available opportunity.

“Until Congress acts, we are left with a detention policy that benefits private, for-profit corporations at the expense of immigrant rights and the American taxpayer.”