Immigrants in Florida who are seeking asylum might be less likely to be placed in detention if a budget amendment introduced in Congress is successful. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington, introduced the amendment, which was approved by the House of Representatives in January.
The amendment would prohibit funds being transferred from the Coast Guard to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to be used for construction and maintenance of facilities for detaining immigrants. More immigrants are imprisoned in the United States than in any other country, and the diversion of over $200 million from various agencies facilitated the detentions carried out by the Trump administration. Restricting the use of funds is one step toward ending this practice of detention.
In addition to $29 million from the Coast Guard, the Trump administration diverted $10 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and money from AIDS/HIV research and cancer prevention for its detention programs. However, the use of detention centers themselves is not an anomaly. The first modern detention center was opened during the Reagan administration to detain Haitians in Puerto Rico, and the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations continued the practice of detaining immigrants. If Congress passes the Detention Oversight Not Expansion Act, expansion of detention would cease. California has already prohibited municipalities from making new contracts with ICE for detention facilities or from altering existing contracts.
People who are facing immigration detention or deportation may want to reach out to legal counsel. Immigration law is complex and changeable, and this can lead to confusion. An attorney may be able to explain the options available to an immigrant who wants to live in the U.S.