Arizona Congressman Raúl Grijalva has written a letter asking the Secretary of Homeland Security to publicize how much the Department has paid private contractors in each of the past three years to incarcerate illegal immigrants. In Grijalva’s letter, he expressed hope that the current immigration debate on Capitol Hill will end “ineffective border crackdowns.”
As the letter reads, “The cost of these detentions [. . .] is surely high and getting higher each year. I respectfully request that you release the total yearly cost to DHS of detaining undocumented immigrants in private detention facilities for the past three years and break down the expenditures by state. These figures should be readily available to DHS policymakers for planning and budgeting purposes, and there is no reason Congress should not base its discussion on an accurate assessment of how much the status quo is costing us.”
Grijalva asked for responses to his queries by Sept. 9, “when Congress will be back in session and the country’s attention will be firmly on improving our immigration policies.”
Grijalva writes that he believes Congress will make “informed decisions when armed with valuable information.”
Grijalva does not inquire as to the cost of the current status quo on hospitals, schools, and other entities that bear the cost of those who are undocumented. According to a report by the Center for Immigration Studies, “In 2010, 36 percent of immigrant-headed households used at least one major welfare program (primarily food assistance and Medicaid),” compared to 26 percent by other families.