The private prison industry’s growing role in immigrant detention is due in part to Congress' requiring the federal government to maintain some 34,000 detention beds, according to a report released Wednesday.
The report, drafted by Grassroots Leadership, a nonprofit based in Austin, Texas, calls on Congress to eliminate the immigrant detention quota from its 2016 appropriations request.
Bethany Carson, a co-author of the study who spoke on the call, said the detention bed quota is “inhumane” and “unnecessary.” The Grassroots report urges policymakers to reduce the number of required detention beds through “community-based” alternatives to detention. The report does not describe those alternatives in detail, but Grassroots has in the past endorsed programs in which immigration authorities partner with non-governmental organizations to ensure that released migrants comply with court proceedings and find access to community services.
“The only beneficiaries from the detention quota are for-profit corporations that benefit from human pain,” Carson told reporters