IS DETENTION OF IMMIGRANTS WISE PUBLIC POLICY?
Photograph taken outside of the Etowah County Detention Center (Gadsen, Alabama). The sign in the window reads: “We miss our kids.” Photograph credit: Miguel Angel Carpizo-Ituarte. The accompanying story can be located on Huffington Post
What is the Cost to U.S. Taxpayers of Detaining a Person
Who Cannot Prove They are in the Country Legally?
- The average cost of detaining an immigrant is approximately $133/person per day. A typical detention center holds approximately 1100 persons for a minimum 3-4 week period. However, some detainees are held for as long as six months.
- The less costly alternatives to detention include a combination of reporting and electronic monitoring. Studies show that these alternative methods are 90% cheaper and still yield an estimated 93% appearance rate before the immigration courts.
- Alternatives to detention cost as little as 70 cents/day, which could ultimately save taxpayers up to $1.44 billion a year.
Photograph outside of Adelanto, CA detention facility (Geo Group,Inc.)
Photo credit: John Moore (2013)
Aerial view of the Adelanto Detention Center. Source (GeoGroup, Inc.)
Critics argue that using jailed migrants as cheap labor violates the prohibition against slavery and involuntary servitude (except as punishment for a crime) in the 13th Amendment to the U.S.Constitution.
Photograph of the “Tent City Jail” (capacity 2000) established in 1993 in Maricopa Ct. AZ.
Freedom for Immigrants, “DETENTION OPERATED BY FOR-PROFIT COMPANIES IS COSTLY.”
( Houston United Working Group on Migrant Deaths in South Texas 2013)