Immigration detention growth and standards under carceral reforms

Authors: Marlene Nava Ramos*, CUNY - Graduate Center
Topics: Political Geography, Immigration/Transnationalism
Keywords: Immigration Enforcement, Intergovernmental Systems, Carceral Reforms
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 5:00 PM
Room: Gallier A, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper studies the emergence and implementation of the last ten years of standards in immigration detention and deportation procedures. Although sometimes driven by advocate demands to make conditions of confinement more humane (or less deadly), these reforms have expanded the federal government’s capacity to police, arrest, imprison and deport non-citizens by way of building more efficient and effective linkages between and within federal, state and local corrections jurisdictions. This paper specifically uses the 2008 National Performance-based Standards (NPBS) as a way to study the most recent series of turning points that sporadically, but definitely, “fast-track” an ever growing number of people under the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). As a second focus of attention, this paper will also situate the expansion of immigration enforcement within recent initiatives aimed to reform state prisons and county jails – the very infrastructure used to “fast-track” people en route to deportation and, which, designates some foreign-born individuals as “deportable” persons under federal law. By drawing a few parallels and concrete connections between immigration enforcement and carceral reforms, this paper ultimately argues the “fast-track” mechanisms used to fling an ever higher volume of people into immigration detention and out (often times in the form of deportation) seemingly provides a detailed roadmap for emergent local county jail reforms, some of which, aim to ambitiously shrink their jail populations, but, rest on creating an ever-faster “revolving door” in jails, rather than policies that would decriminalize certain activities or slash the number of

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