President Donald Trump’s plan to massively increase family detention for undocumented immigrants crossing the border after public outrage forced him to do away with separating children and parents will cost billions of dollars that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement does not have, HuffPost reported on Tuesday.
Following his executive order that requires the Department of Homeland Security to detain families together, the agency asked contractors to submit proposals for the creation of 15,000 more family detention beds.
But such detention centers are about three times more expensive than facilities designed to lock up single adults, largely due to court orders that require they meet a higher standard.
Cheaper options other than detention actually exist and have been proven successful. One pilot project, called the Family Case Management Program, had a compliance rate on court appearances of 99 percent, according to a Women’s Refugee Commission study.
Running that program cost ICE only $36 a day per family ― 10 times less than locking up a single individual in family detention, but the Trump administration cancelled it last year.
Since the Trump administration rejected that alternative, it only has a few choices: Continue with the plans for a massive expansion of family detention centers, return to the status quo of releasing mothers and their children from family detention with a notice to appear in immigration court, or return to the policy of splitting parents from their children that sparked the backlash against the administration.
Simon Rosenberg, president of the New Democrat Network progressive Washington think tank, said those choices leave the president in a dilemma, because reversing his hard-line immigration position makes him look weak on one of his main issues, while moving in the other directions either is prohibitively expensive or increasingly repugnant to much of the public.
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