Two dozen House Democrats are calling on the Biden administration to phase out Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) contracts with state, local and county jails and prisons.

Rep. Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarOmar reintroduces bill seeking to cancel rent, mortgage payments during pandemicExpand remote internships on Capitol Hill to create a more diverse and effective CongressMellman: Party brand vs personal brandMORE (D-Minn.) is leading the effort, requesting in a letter that the administration release an executive order detailing the Department of Justices plan to stop renewing ICE and USMS contracts with the jails and prisons. 

The letter, which was addressed to Domestic Policy Council Director Susan RiceSusan RiceBiden, Rice hold roundtable with Black essential workersThe Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Lawmakers investigate Jan. 6 security failuresWatch live: Biden holds roundtable with Black essential workersMORE and Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro MayorkasAlejandro MayorkasThis week: Democrats eye next step after coronavirus relief bill win Biden administration sending FEMA to border amid influx of migrant childrenDHS grants temporary legal status to Myanmar citizens in USMORE, was first obtained by Politico. 

The lawmakers pointed to President BidenJoe BidenThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Biden to hit road, tout COVID-19 relief lawOregon senator takes center stage in Democratic filibuster debateThis week: Democrats eye next step after coronavirus relief bill win MORE’s earlier executive order mandating the attorney general not to renew contracts with privately operated criminal detention facilities, noting that conditions for detainees in government-owned facilities mirror those in private facilities.

Conditions in municipal, county, and state jails and prisons contracting with ICE to detain immigrants mirror the systemic abuses in privately operated immigration detention facilities, including medical neglect, long term use of solitary confinement, sexual assault, and lack of access to legal counsel, their letter reads.

The Democrats noted that the majority of ICE facilities operate through contracts between the agency and the localities, with 49 percent of ICE detainees in county-owned facilities and 14 percent in city and municipality-owned centers, according to a 2019 Brooking Institute study.

The lawmakers condemned ICEs agreements with some local governments to give a per diem rate to hold immigrants thats substantially higher than the per diem rate for those held in criminal custody.

This financial incentive has fueled the expansion of immigration detention throughout the country, including in states such as Louisiana, which successfully reduced criminal incarceration levels, only to re-fill those same beds with immigrants, they said.

In order to truly sever the financial incentives causing the expansion of an unnecessary and abuse-ridden system of mass incarceration, we urge you to end contracts between the federal government and localities for the purposes of immigration detention, the lawmakers added. 

The Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security did not immediately return a request for comment.