Guest blogger Courtney Greene is a regular volunteer with Texans United for Families (TUFF) and a regularly visits women in detention through the Hutto Visitation Program.
Efforts continue around the country to end the immigrant detention quota. On Friday, May 9, protestors marched and rallied in Washington, D.C. to #EndTheQuota. Five were arrested including Grassroots Leadership Executive Director, Bob Libal.
Earlier in the week, pro-immigrant groups and individuals from across the U.S. called and emailed their congressional representatives to demand the immigrant detention quota be stopped.
The quota requires the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to fill 34,000 beds in immigrant detention centers each day. The quota is unjust, inhumane and primarily benefits the for-profit companies that run the detention centers. In TUFF’s view, here are the top 3 reasons to advocate for the immediate end of the immigrant detention quota:
#1 All your friends are doing it
Well, at least all your friends who recognize that spending over $2 billion to arbitrarily detain immigrants, regardless of their ongoing contributions to our communities, doesn’t make sense. By encouraging ICE officials to round up as many undocumented community members as possible — and as quickly as possible — the quota tears families apart at an alarming rate.
#2 You value people over profits
As TUFF members, we object to a system of immigrant detention with a quota that benefits for-profit companies at the expense of families and community members. As reported by the Detention Watch Network, lobbyists representing the for-profit prison corporation, GEO Group, spent $1.2 million convincing Congress to act in the corporation’s best interests. And why wouldn’t they, when they stand to gain upwards of $160 per night on each detained immigrant?
Locking immigrants up in for-profit detention centers makes a mockery of the U.S. promise on the Statue of Liberty to:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free…”
Instead of living up to our country’s values, the immigrant detention quota promotes the worst of capitalism and prioritizes profits over people.
#3 It just isn’t justice
No other law enforcement agency operates according to a quota system. Imagine a world in which the police had to incarcerate a certain number of individuals per day. You can imagine how quickly corruption would run rampant. Why would we allow such a system to exist for immigrants?
We can do better! Take some time to write to your congressional representatives and let them know you stand against the bed mandate. Get some help doing so by visiting Detention Watch Network’s “End the Quota” advocacy page.