Representative Lamar Smith, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, is promoting a bill, (H.R. 1932) that would authorize prolonged and indefinite detention of immigrants. Despite its purported intent to target dangerous convicted criminals, the bill covers large numbers of immigrants with no criminal history, including parents of U.S. citizen children, asylum-seekers and torture survivors who have won their cases in immigration court, as well as lawful permanent residents with decades-old minor convictions.
Smith acknowledges that holding one person in ICE detention costs about $122 per day–yearly, that’s $44,5000 per detainee, for a current total of $2 billion a year. Smith said, “We ought not be so concerned about the $45,000 a year.” At a time when Congress is making unprecedented spending cuts across the board, it makes no sense to pass a bill that will add considerably to our debt without making the country safer.
The bill has passed the House Judiciary Committee, and could be headed to the House floor for a vote at any time.
We join the ACLU in urging you to oppose H.R. 1932.