Detention bed quota amendment in the Senate

We’re very excited to share that Senator Coons will be introducing an amendment to eliminate the detention bed quota — the first ever amendment in the Senate on this issue! Unfortunately, we have a tight timeline — until tomorrow morning — to convince other Senators to co-sponsor the amendment to show how many lawmakers agree that it’s long past time to remove this arbitrary and unjust quota from the DHS budget.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Call your Senators TODAY and ask them to support Senator Coons’ amendment to strike the bed quota language (actual amendment text here). Feel free to use these talking points (though you can find much more information here, here and here):

  • Detention operates on a quota system that strives to keep 34,000 immigrants imprisoned each day.
    • Congress requires ICE to maintain a daily quota of 34,000 detention beds and makes ICE’s funding contingent on doing so. No other law enforcement agency is forced to operate on a quota system.
    • The quota pushes ICE to find immigrants to detain and to continue operating facilities with subpar conditions and track records of abuse.
  • Detention is expensive – there is a human cost to our communities and a monetary cost to taxpayers.
    • Current detention policy–driven in large part by an arbitrarily-set quota–means that the families and communities of nearly half a million people are torn apart each year.
    • The most recent budget request for ICE’s Custody Operations is just over $2 billion. During a time of fiscal crisis, it is unacceptable to be spending billions of taxpayer dollars to needlessly detain immigrants. This is a complete waste of resources when other proven and effective methods—including parole, release under supervision, and bond— cost taxpayers far less than detention.
  • Private prison corporations lobby for policies like the bed quota which keep immigrants in detention.
    • Nearly 60% of detention beds are in facilities run by private prison corporations, which rake in profits from the incarceration of immigrants.

2. If they are willing to co-sponsor, they should get in touch with Dan Bachner (202-228-1993 and