Today, Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard clarified misleading reports that "hundreds" of undocumented immigrants had been "released" by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) -- stories which have prompted expressions of outrage by House Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner. In reality, in response to the impending cuts required by the sequester, ICE placed low-risk detainees in secure Alternatives to Detention (ATD). These measures, which include ankle bracelets and telephonic monitoring, offer a more humane, cost-effective option for many non-criminal immigrants than traditional incarceration.
"The sequester is forcing ICE to do what it should have been doing already -- placing people who don't pose a threat to their communities or our country into the proven Alternatives to Detention Program," said Rep. Roybal-Allard. "Whereas locking up an immigrant costs the American taxpayer more than $150 a day, these proven supervision programs cost about $10 a day. More importantly, with success rates above 90 percent, they deliver strong results. If Republicans were really serious about fiscal responsibility and about fixing our broken immigration system, they would join me in applauding ICE's decision."
Congresswoman Roybal-Allard is the author of HR 639, the Immigration Oversight and Fairness Act. In addition to strengthening the standards that govern our immigration prisons, the bill would dramatically expand Alternatives to Detention, especially for vulnerable populations, such as elderly, pregnant and sick immigrants.