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At today’s House Judiciary Committee hearing on ICE’s recent release of hundreds of immigrants from detention, Rep. Spencer Bachus (R – AL) asked Director Morton a question that immigrant rights advocates have been asking for years: “Is it possible that you are detaining more people than you need to?… Maybe there is an overuse of detention,” he observed.
You read that right. A Republican from Alabama was wondering if we keep too many people in detention.
Detention Watch Network applauded Bachus for his consideration. As Andrea Black, their Executive Director released in a statement:
We are thrilled to hear that Rep. Bachus has come to the conclusion that in locking up 400,000 people a year ICE is wasting taxpayer dollars and causing needless suffering for immigrants and their families. It is encouraging to hear members of Congress concerned with fiscal responsibility draw the reasonable conclusion that we are over-relying and over-spending on immigration detention. We urge Congress to repeal policies such as mandatory detention, which is responsible for approximately 70% of all detention, and which prevents ICE from assessing risk when deciding who to detain.
Watch video of Bachus’ comments below, from Colorlines:
Also check out this awesome video of Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) grilling John Morton about immigrant detainees, also from the hearing: