3-30-2012By Annie Sovcik
Refugee Protection Program
What would you call the treatment of refugees who, fleeing persecution and seeking freedom, arrive in the United States only to be promptly handcuffed, shackled, and thrown in jail?
Some members of Congress call it a “holiday.”
The House of Representatives held a hearing yesterday called, “Holiday on ICE: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s New Immigration Detention Standards.” Clearly, several members of Congress are out of touch with the realities of immigration detention.
Despite efforts to reform the system, asylum seekers in the United States who are fleeing persecution continue to be held in jail or jail-like facilities, despite years of bipartisan findings that such conditions are inappropriate for asylum seekers and other civil immigration detainees.
Immigration detention has increased rapidly in the past ten years, and it’s been costly. In fact, many immigration law detainees are deemed low-risk by the government and do not need to be detained at all. They are ideal candidates for effective and less expensive ATDs.
ICE spends $122 a day per detainee. That amounts to $2 billion every year. Current ATD programs, on the other hand, cost an average of $8.88 per person/day, more than $100 less per person/day