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Quigley Introduces Legislation to Improve Standards, Conditions at Immigration Detention Centers

May 8, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON—Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) joined Representative Adam Smith (WA-09) to introduce the Accountability in Immigration Detention Act (AIDA), which aims to improve standards and living conditions in immigration detention centers across the country. 

“The government has a moral responsibility to ensure the safety and wellbeing of any person under its charge,” said Rep. Quigley. “Right now, immigration detention standards are loosely enforced across different facilities, often leading to inhumane and prolonged detentions, especially among vulnerable populations. This legislation will develop and enforce consistent standards for the treatment of detainees and provide much needed oversight and transparency of our immigration detention system.”

Current standards are inconsistently enforced across the immigration detention facilities maintained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). This legislation would change federal law to ensure that immigration detention center standards are federally regulated and created by a rulemaking committee made up of stakeholders like organizations that advocate for undocumented immigrants, local governments, medical experts, and others.

The legislation also would require unannounced audits and encourage the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to consider alternatives to detention (ATDs) that provide a more humane alternative for individuals in ICE’s custody.  

The bill was cosponsored by Reps. Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Ted Deutch (FL-21), Jared Polis (CO-02), and Filemon Vela (TX-34). 

Rep. Quigley has been a staunch advocate of comprehensive immigration reform throughout his time in Congress. Earlier this year, he called for an investigation of abuse at immigration detention centers. He is a member of the New Democrat Coalition’s Immigration Task Force, which promotes an agenda focused on American innovation and entrepreneurship as a path to economic growth and job creation.