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Understanding Immigration Detention: Causes, Conditions, and Consequences
Annual Review of Law and Social Science (2019)
  • Emily Ryo
During the summer of 2018, the US government detained thousands of migrant
parents and their separated children pursuant to its zero-tolerance
policy at the United States–Mexico border. The ensuing media storm generated
unprecedented public awareness about immigration detention. The
recency of this public attention belies a long-standing immigration enforcement
practice that has generated a growing body of research in the past couple
of decades. I take stock of this research, focusing on the causes, conditions,
and consequences of immigration detention in the United States. I also
discuss critical tasks for future research, including (a) examining the role of
local governments, the private prison industry, and decision makers responsible
for release decisions in maintaining the detention system; (b) extending
the field of inquiry to less-visible detainee populations and detention facility
guards and staff, for a fuller understanding of detention conditions; and
(c) investigating not only direct but also indirect consequences of detention.
  • immigration detention,
  • immigration enforcement,
  • civil confinement,
  • criminal incarceration
Publication Date
Fall October, 2019
Citation Information
Emily Ryo. "Understanding Immigration Detention: Causes, Conditions, and Consequences" Annual Review of Law and Social Science Vol. 15 (2019)
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