Each year mandatory detention results in the jailing of tens of thousands of people who pose no danger to their communities and are not a flight risk. Feeding this detention system is the mandatory detention provision of Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRAIRA), requiring that most people in deportation proceedings, base on their past offenses, no matter how remote in time, are held in custody, even if they are non-violent and the criminal system has determined they are not a risk to the community. Such a system cannot differentiate between a terrorist and a single mother of a U.S. children or a green card holder who’s lived here his whole life. The respondent remains in custody until completion of the immigration court case, and pending any appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals and federal circuit courts, which can easily amount to years of detention.
Do we really want to be paying for such individuals when they could be out working and helping to sustain their families and the economy?