Quigley Offers Amendment to Combat ICE’s Inhumane & Ineffective Detention Policy
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), who serves as Illinois’ only Member on the House Appropriations Committee, offered an amendment to the Homeland Security appropriations bill to combat ICE’s inhumane and ineffective detention policy by moving funding to the Urban Area Security Initiative. You can read his remarks on the amendment, as prepared for delivery, below.
“My amendment today decreases funding for immigration detention beds to match the fiscal year 2018 level and puts these savings into the Urban Area Security Initiative grant program.
“The proposed increase for ICE means an additional 3,500 detention beds, which only bolsters an inhumane and ineffective detention policy—a policy that is all the more worrisome in light of the Trump Administration’s inexcusable handling of immigrants on our southern border.
“Despite the President’s affinity for locking up families, it’s important to make clear that detention isn’t the only option when it comes to immigration enforcement. ICE’s current alternatives to detention program and several community support pilot programs are the smarter approach. They save money, but more importantly, they are an approach that treats people with the dignity that they deserve.
“Chain-link fences, filthy mattresses on the floor, inadequate health care, lack of nutritious food—that is the standard in detention facilities today. According to one 17-year-old boy from Honduras, detainees are treated ‘worse than dogs.’
“Is this the message we we’re comfortable sending to the rest of the world? Aren’t we better than this deplorable treatment for people who come to our country looking for a new life and a second chance?
“The funding levels show us that the horrible conditions in detention centers aren’t a result from lack of funding. This committee give millions each year to detention—but detention isn’t the best use of our money.
“That’s why I’m offering this amendment. I want to be able to go home to my constituents and let them know we are making smart investments; that we are using the limited—lately very limited—money available to fund federal programs designed to keep America safe and meet the new and dangerous world we face.
“Grant programs like the Urban Area Security Initiative help large cities like Chicago invest in the training and equipment necessary to respond to their unique security challenges.
“In today's world, the threats we face are constantly changing and our ability to keep America safe relies on our capacity to adapt quickly to new and evolving threats. Something we have continue to do with fewer and fewer resources.
“According to the Cato Institute, our intelligence and law enforcement has deterred over 50 cases of radical and violent extremism since 2010. Protecting against new and evolving threats will not necessarily require additional spending, but it will require smarter spending.
“We need to ask ourselves what really keeps America safe in today's world. Is it unnecessary and ineffective immigration detention or is it programs like UASI.
“Thank you, and I urge my colleagues to support this amendment.”