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Detention and Family Detention

America's immigration detention practices undermine the fundamental principles of due process and fairness, and require immediate systemic reform. Annually, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) unnecessarily detains about 400,000 people, including asylum seekers and other vulnerable people. Many detainees are held for prolonged periods despite the fact that they have families, jobs and pose no threat to public safety. Detention is extremely expensive-costing American taxpayers $2 billion last year alone. Detention should be a last resort, used only when other means of supervision are not feasible, and especially when more cost effective alternatives are available.

Immigration detention has increased fivefold since 1996, reaching a record high in FY2012 of 477,523 individuals detained. The United States spends $5.6 million per day on immigration detention. Spending on detention has increased exponentially, from $864 million seven years ago to around $1.9 billion today. Immigration detention costs U.S. taxpayers between $122 and $164 per day; however, proven alternatives to detention cost between 17 cents and $17 per day.

AILA Resources on Family Detention

AILA Statements

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