The Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act (“SAFE Act”), H.R. 2278, is single-minded in its focus to expand immigration enforcement and detention and stands in the way of fair, just, and commonsense approaches to immigration reform endorsed by 73% of Americans. If enacted, it will lead to the rampant expansion of racial profiling, unconstitutional arrests, and mass detention and deportations.



H.R. 2278 is radical, draconian, and extremist

  • The law would permit the prosecution of every undocumented individual who is “unlawfully present,” criminalizing over 11 million immigrants living in the U.S. and tearing families apart.
  • It is even more extreme than the widely denounced 2005 Sensenbrenner bill (H.R. 4437) in its narrow focus on locating, arresting, and detaining immigrants.


H.R. 2278 dramatically expands detention across the country

  • The law would require additional funding to pay for the acquisition and construction of increased immigration detention beds and facilities.  It would also expand resources for detention by authorizing DHS and ICE to hire over 8,000 staff, including to guard immigration detention facilities, transport and process immigrants in detention, and as deportation officers.
  • These measures significantly increase the amount that taxpayers must spend on our already massive and unjust immigration detention system and counter bi-partisan efforts in the Senate to move toward more humane and less expensive options.


H.R. 2278 significantly increases the number of immigrants subject to mandatory detention

  • Thousands of immigrants, including legal permanent residents and asylum seekers, are subject to mandatory detention each year without the right to a hearing to determine vulnerability or flight risk. The law would expand mandatory detention provisions to include new categories of immigrants, including immigrants whose convictions have been reversed or vacated or those with decades-old offenses who have had no further contact with law enforcement.


H.R. 2278 overturns Supreme Court precedent and authorizes indefinite detention

  • The law would overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Zadvydas v. Davis by allowing for the indefinite detention of individuals who have been ordered removed from the U.S. but cannot be removed. 


H.R. 2278 guts immigration detention standards

  • The law would allow immigrants to be held in any state, federal, or contract facility, as long as it satisfies minimal U.S. Marshals custody guidelines, undoing hard-fought progress toward improving conditions for immigrants in ICE custody.


H.R. 2278 encourages detention on the basis of racial profiling and makes our communities less safe

  • The Arizona-like law would result in racial profiling because anyone who “looks undocumented” would be subject to stops, arrests, and detention.  Consequently, the bill would create an environment of mistrust between immigrant communities and local law enforcement.


H.R. 2278  funnels more immigrants into our already massive detention and deportation system

  • The law would expand the list of what constitutes a “criminal conviction” and an “aggravated felony”, and would add new violations for which people could be refused entry to the U.S. or deported.  This would result in more people being subject to detention and deportation and lead to permanent family separation.
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