Private prison corporations have sold the American public a lie, and we have bought it without question. The lie is that immigration detention–the incarceration of 34,000 non-citizens every day–is necessary to protect the American public and the integrity of our borders. However, private prisons and the federal government have failed to tell us that alternatives to detention overseen by communities are 79% less expensive. Instead, these private prisons lobby our government to secure Congressionally-mandated quotas to ensure their beds are always filled. For Fiscal Year 2014, the House of Representatives has made clear that it intends to fund immigration detention at levels that exceed the request from the Administration, specifically $5.6 million per day spent on immigration detention to fulfill a Congressionally mandated quota of 34,000 people detained on any given day. These prison corporations then pass the unnecessary human and financial costs of the immigration detention system onto the American public, making profit from taxpayer dollars by locking up victims of human trafficking and other people we pledge to protect. Moreover, while funding for incarceration expands, funding for education decreases. For example, the city of Adelanto, CA has three of the largest incarceration centers in the country–a federal prison, the county jail, and the Adelanto Immigration Center–but there are no high schools in Adelanto, and the elementary schools are failing. There are no after-school clubs and no community centers. Instead it’s a hub of mass incarceration. Faith communities, including Evangelicals, across the country are working to change this reality. Please join us in calling on our government to end the Congressional mandate and stop trading human rights for profit. Watch CIVIC’s video and then sign the petition: http://www.change.org/petitions/end-the-quota
Christina Fialho is the co-founder and fulltime co-executive director of CIVIC, an attorney in California, a 2012 Echoing Green Fellow, and a Steering Committee Member of the Detention Watch Network. Christina has witnessed the transformative effects of visitation, and while there are CIVIC-affiliated programs at 24 detention facilities in 13 states, Christina hopes to one day see an end to the isolating practice of immigration detention. You can contact Christina at CFialho@endisolation.org, and you can find CIVIC on Facebook, Twitter, Youtube , and via their website www.endisolation.org. Please note that the views expressed do not necessarily represent those of everyone associated with G92 or any institutions with which the blogger may be affiliated. We are always looking for new guest bloggers. If you are interested in writing a guest blog, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.