Friday, March 16, 2018

Administrative Incarceration: The Paradox of Immigration Detention

According to the Supreme Court, immigration detention cannot legally be classified as punishment: to punish immigrants for simply being in the country unlawfully would be unconstitutional.… Yet the conditions that immigrants face in detention are similar – if not worse – to conditions in penal incarceration systems.

By Elizabeth Bird, ImmigrationProfBlog
March 12, 2018
In 2017, over 320,000 immigrants were placed in detention in the United States, awaiting determination of their immigration status. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can detain anyone who is suspected of being deportable and is deemed to be likely to abscond. This includes a range of noncitizens: individuals who have crossed the border without documentation, have overstayed their visa, or legal residents who have committed certain crimes. According to the government, immigration detention is an administrative procedure. Legally, immigration detention is not punishment, but in practice, it looks a lot like penal incarceration. Furthermore, the non-punitive nature of immigration detention results in fewer protections for immigrants than would be afforded to criminal defendants.[…]

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Protesters support striking detainees, April 2017. Photo: Tacoma Action Collective

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