Shutdown Talks Stall Over Detention Beds

Brendan Fitterer/Tampa Bay Times/ZUMA

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So how are the shutdown talks going? Apparently we’ve moved past the funding for a wall, so you’d think it would be pretty smooth sailing now. But apparently not:

The talks this weekend snagged over the issue of how many detention beds would be provided at the border for housing people detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials….Democrats had proposed establishing a new limit on detention beds used by ICE officials when apprehending people for violations within the U.S., known as interior enforcement. Those beds would be capped at 16,500, as part of an existing overall cap of 40,520 beds funded in the fiscal year 2018 spending bill.

The idea is the limit would force the government to prioritize the detention of violent criminals, rather than people who had overstayed their visas. Republicans objected, wanting to exclude violent criminals from that cap. Democrats said the exclusion would undermine their objective.

After reading a dozen different accounts of the detention bed issue, I’m unable to parse exactly what this means. Prioritizing violent criminals sounds fine to me, but if that’s the goal why not allow unlimited detention beds for violent criminals and put a cap on the number of beds for visa overstayers? What am I missing here?

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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