I’m addressing this to Republicans, especially Tea Party conservatives who may be opposed to comprehensive immigration reform and in favor of tough enforcement.
We may not agree on many issues, but I want to tell you about a giant, wasteful government program you’ve probably never heard of called the Congressional Bed Mandate. It’s a costly boondoggle that needs to go away as soon as possible.
It was introduced a few years ago by Democrat Robert Byrd and it creates an arbitrary requirement that the government detain 34,000 men, women and children every day of the year. The 34,000 number is set in stone right now and the cost is shocking. At $120 per person, that’s two billion dollars a year.
That two billion dollars doesn’t even take into the amount of money that the economy is losing every day that the 34,000 people aren’t out there and buying things like food and clothes. Instead, detainees are treated to government welfare.
You might think this sounds like a tough enforcement policy to crack down on illegal immigrants but don’t be fooled; the Congressional Bed Mandate is just crony capitalism at its worst. Your tax dollars are going right into the pockets of for-profit prison companies who’ve made lucrative deals with politicians.
It’s not about enforcement. If you want to keep track of people in deportation hearings, there are much more affordable ways to do it, including simply checking in with a case worker or wearing an ankle bracelet.
The Bed Mandate is ineffective central planning. As the number of immigrants crossing the border gone down to half what it was a few years ago, the mandate has stayed in place.
If you’re concerned about deportations, remember that the Bed Mandate is such a colossal waste of money that it’s taking dollars away from deporting the real criminals. The Bed Mandate grabs the low-hanging fruit and lets the worst of the bad guys skate.
The Congressional Bed Mandate also takes the power away from ICE agents and forces them to adapt to arbitrary system that doesn’t take day-to-day realities in account.
Aside from the money being wasted, the system is pointlessly cruel.
Welcoming the stranger is the most often repeated commandment in the Hebrew Scriptures, with the exception of the imperative to worship only the one God. And the love of neighbor (especially the vulnerable) is doubtlessly the New Testament’s constant command… Whatever the cause of immigration today, there can be no doubt as to where the Church must stand when it comes to defending the immigrant (Ref: Theologian Orlando O. Espín).
The Obama White House has suggested cuts in the system that only serve to keep the money flowing to this ridiculous government pork barreling. It’s not enough.
Call or write your Congressmen and Senator and tell them to dump the Congressional Bed Mandate entirely.
Congratulate Senator Bachus (AL-6) for being true to his faith in standing up for what is right. Encourage this man to stay in office. He announced he will not run again this year. But, this is the kind of man we need and want in Congress.
“The Lord watches over the alien and sustains the fatherless and the widow, but he frustrates the ways of the wicked.” Psalm 146:9
“Do not oppress the window or the fatherless, the alien or the poor.” Ezekiel 22:7; Zecharaiah 7:10