WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley (IL-05) and Suzan DelBene (WA-01) sent a letter with 56 of their colleagues urging the Obama Administration to take greater action to revise immigration enforcement procedures and provide relief from unnecessary detention and deportation.
“The president must act where House leadership has not and improve our broken immigration system by promoting more humane and cost-effective deportation and detention policies,” said Rep. Quigley. “Every day we fail to act is another day that families are needlessly torn apart, entire communities are disrupted and America moves further away from our founding principles of fairness and justice.”
“Our broken immigration system is hurting Washington state’s economy and families. Today far too many individuals, who pose no risk to the public’s safety, are being detained or face deportation, needlessly tearing them away from their loved ones,” said Rep. DelBene. “The Administration should focus on dangerous individuals, not honor students and skilled workers contributing to our economy. What’s more, executive action is not enough. House leadership must stop delaying and move forward to enact comprehensive immigration reform legislation.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) currently uses a one-size-fits-all approach, detaining and deporting hundreds of thousands of immigrants each year who pose no threat to public safety, separating families and disrupting communities. The letter urges the Obama Administration to exercise its legal authority to provide additional relief from detention and deportation, prioritizing our resources to remove those who pose a public safety or national security risk. Among the recommendations included in the letter are an expansion and more consistent application of prosecutorial discretion, as well as increase in the use of more humane and cost effective secure alternatives to detention.
Over the last five years, DHS has removed a record two million people at a time when border crossings are at a 40-year low. DHS is currently detaining 430,000 individuals each year. These record-high detention levels are costing American taxpayers $2 billion annually, despite the availability of alternatives to detention at a fraction of the cost.
The full text and signatories of the letter can be found here.
Rep. Quigley has been a staunch advocate of comprehensive immigration reform throughout his time in Congress and has pushed Congress to pass a pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. He recently used his position on the House Appropriations Committee to highlight the need for Congress to protect undocumented immigrants from abuse in detention centers, reject unconstitutional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers and end a mandated detention bed quota that wastes millions of dollars annually.
Rep. DelBene has led efforts to enact comprehensive immigration reform this Congress and last fall, helped introduce the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act (H.R. 15), which currently has 200 bipartisan cosponsors. As a member of the House Judiciary Committee, she recently called on Secretary Johnson to examine the issues of border patrol harassment and racial profiling, standards and conditions in detention centers, and the 100-mile enforcement radius for border patrol.