New Research and Papers
Comprehensive Immigration Reform and America's Security and Prosperity Act of 2009
Border security, conditions of detention, due process, repeal of 287g, employment verification, visa reform, promotion of family unity, legalization, DREAM Act, farmworkers, integration of new Americans.
Deportation Nation! website is home to an independent investigative reporting project that critically examines the increase in immigration enforcement that targets so-called "criminal aliens."
Includes “Enforcement Desk” blog- reports, such an update on how this week’s Supreme Court order banning automatic deportation of immigrants for minor drug offenses could impact thousands of of lawful permanent residents who were mislabeled as aggravated felons. Library includes data from ICE that points to a key flaw already identified with a rapidly expanding enforcement program called Secure Communities.
Deportation Nation: A Timeline Of Immigrant Criminalization (1783-2010)
An interactive timeline and explore how the U.S. immigration system became focused on enforcement. It starts with the Founding Fathers, and ends with a record number of deportations under the Obama Administration. Context is key to understanding the "deportation delirium" in America, and this tool exposes trends in immigration attitudes and legislation, pivotal legal cases, and enforcement strategies. This interactive media feature is a first of its kind resource on immigrant criminalization. The timeline features videos, photos, documents, and useful links. It also has exclusive video interviews with immigration experts Daniel Kanstroom and Donald Kerwin
Expose and Close, One Year Later: The Absence of Accountability in Immigration Detention
The report highlights the appalling conditions in ten of the worst immigration detention centers in the country. Expose and Close: One Year Later documents the current state of the immigration detention system which continues to be plagued by deaths and suicides, subpar medical and mental health care, inedible food, and arbitrary restrictions on visitation and access to legal resources. Detention Watch. November 2013.
For-Profit Family Detention: Meet the Private Prison Corporations Making Millions by Locking Up Refugee Families
Like more than half of the immigrant detention beds in the U.S., the Karnes County detention center is operated by a for-profit, private prison company - the GEO Group (GEO). GEO has a long rap sheet of abuse, neglect, and misconduct inside its facilities. This report will scrutinize GEO's dismal track record with operation of facilities holding immigrants, as well as its dreadful past history of failing to provide vulnerable children and youths with a safe and humane custodial environment. We will detail how GEO and its primary competitor CCA hire the best lobbyists money can buy to pressure members of Congress and staff in federal agencies to keep the contracts coming, despite their well-documented human rights violations and operational fiascos.
Guilty by Immigration Status
By the Human Rights Immigrant Community Action Network (October 2009).
This report details how the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
has, over the last eight years, created an "immigration control
regime" in which it is promoting the criminalization of immigration
status as a means of detaining and deporting individuals for often
minor offenses. With the detention of immigrants taking place in
record numbers and the militarization of the U.S. border on the
rise, the report also describes how DHS and other police, public
officials, and agencies, routinely trumped civil rights and
constitutional protections in order to question, detain, and/or jail
individuals based solely on their perceived or actual immigration
status. To access the report:
Immigration and Public Safety
Authored by Nazgol Ghandnoosh, Ph.D. and Josh Rovner. The Sentencing Proejct. March 2017. Highlights four key findings: Immigrants—regardless of legal status—commit crimes at lower rates than native-born citizens. Higher levels of immigration in recent decades may have contributed to the historic drop in crime rates. Police chiefs believe that intensifying immigration enforcement undermines public safety. Immigrants are under-represented in the U.S. prison population; and the majority of those receiving federal sentences were convicted of immigration law violations.
Indefensible by Justice Strategies and Grassroots Leadership
July 2016. Book length report chronicling a decade of the criminalization of migrants for crossing the US border. Since being launched in 2005, Operation Streamline has led to the prosecution of almost three quarter of a million people for improper entry, a misdemeanor, and re-entry, a felony in a failed effort to address our immigration issues.
Findings in the book point to disturbing consequences for our system of justice and eerily similar parallels to a system of mass and over-incarceration being roundly criticized now by those on both sides of our political spectrum. These findings include: Mass courtroom proceedings in which up to 80 shackled migrants have been arraigned, convicted and sentenced for improper entry, all within a two to three hour time-span, raising many serious legal issues. A federal prison population 23 percent of which is now composed of non-citizens, although these non-citizens represent only seven percent of the U.S. population. Current average sentences of 17 months for felony re-entry, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, in addition to what in any case will ultimately be civil deportation proceedings for those convicted. Federal contracts for 13 new "Criminal Alien Requirement" prisons provided to politically powerful private prison corporations from 2000-2013.
The Influence of the Private Prison Industry in Immigration Detention
Detention Watch. May 2011. Companies that run prisons for profit have boosted lobbying efforts in the past decade and enjoy growing influence over the U.S. immigration detention system, the Detention Watch Network says in a new report. Three of the five private corporations that hold contracts with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and for which data on political lobbying is available invested $20.43 million in such efforts between 1999 and 2009. The largest for-profit prison company in the United States, Corrections Corporation of America, spent by far the most (a little more than $18 million), while GEO Group Inc. spent $2.06 million.
Jails and Jumpsuits: Transforming the U.S. Immigration Detention System - A Two-Year Review
By Ruthie Epstein, Human Rights First, October 2011. The overwhelming majority of ICE's nearly 400,000 detainees are still held in jails, prisons, or prison-like facilities—at a cost to U.S. taxpayers of more than $2 billion a year.
Local Democracy on ICE: Why State and Local Governments Have No Business in Federal Immigration Law Enforcement
New Report from Justice Strategies (Feb 2009). Democracy on ICE 287(g) is a tiny provision in federal immigration law that allows Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to take local police away from their mission of fighting crime, and pull them into the murky territory of targeting immigrants for arrest without suspicion of crime. ICE described the 287(g) program as a public safety measure to target "criminal illegal aliens," but its largest impact has been on law-abiding immigrant communities. Rather than focusing on serious crime, police resources are spent targeting day-laborers, corn-vendors and people with broken tail-lights. This report details findings from a year-long investigation of 287(g) by Justice Strategies, and recommends that the ICE program be terminated.
Privately Operated Federal Prisons for Immigrants: Expensive. Unsafe. Unnecessary.
Justice Strategies. September 2012
Presented before a House of Representatives briefing sponsored by Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado on September 13, 2012, Privately Operated Federal Prisons for Immigrants: Expensive, Unsafe, Unnecessary chronicles the May 2012 Adams County Correctional Center uprising in Natchez, Mississippi, a private for-profit facility operated by Corrections Corporation of America, under contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons. The report details some of the tragic personal consequences for Juan Villanueva, his family, and others caught in the midst of the horrific conditions at the facility, leading to the insurrection. The report weaves into this narrative a look at the rise and fall of the private prison industry, and its resurrection through the benefit of federal contracts to detain and imprison undocumented immigrants, in an atmosphere of moral panic after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Restoring Integrity to the Immigration System
By Tom Barry. Americas Program Policy Report. May 2009.
A comprehensive essay on immigrant "crimmigration."
[Excerpt]: Mass Incarceration for Immigrants: The immigrant crackdown and the accompanying "crimmigration" of immigration law have led to the mass incarceration of immigrants. Throughout the country, private prison firms are hurriedly constructing new immigrant prisons for the immigrant detainees and prisoners of ICE, USMS, and the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP). At a time when the U.S. criminal justice system is coming under new public and congressional scrutiny because of its high costs and high rates of incarceration, the federal government (in close collaboration with local governments and the private prison industry) is imprisoning unprecedented numbers of illegal and legal immigrants.
Where is the Fire? Immigrants and Crime in California
By Barry Krisberg at Berkeley Law School addresses whether there is an association between immigration and crime. The report is timely in light of Arizona’s SB 1070 legislation, which targets noncitizens under the premise that they are responsible for increasing crime, and suggests that states need to enforce immigration laws more aggressively.
Data from the Department of Finance and the Department of Justice reveal that from 1991-2008, 3.6 million foreign-born persons migrated to California, yet there was a dramatic decline in crimes reported to the police. Violent crime declined by 55% and property crime declined by 29% over the 18-year period. Krisberg cautions that despite the evidence showing a declining crime rate during a period when foreign-born immigration was increasing, the report does not suggest that the increase in immigration is responsible for the falling crime rates.