Rethinking Immigration Detention

13 Apr

“If convergence of immigration control and criminal enforcement more generally has given rise to a system of crimmigration law, as some observers maintain, then perhaps excessive immigration detention practices have evolved into a quasi-punitive system of immcarceration. … The Obama Administration has pledged reforms to reconstruct this regime as a “truly civil detention system.” This essay considers the possibilities and limits of these initiatives, which target excessive conditions of confinement but leave other excessive practices intact. Notwithstanding these proposed reforms, the expansion of existing enforcement initiatives means that the government will continue to detain noncitizens, in the words of its own head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, “on a grand scale” – which may constrain its ability to dismantle many of the detention regime’s quasi-punitive features. While excessive detention conditions may well be tempered for many individuals, large-scale immcarceration seems here to stay for the foreseeable future.” Anil Kalhan, Apr. 12, 2010.

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