REPORTS, COMMENTARIES ON THE U.S. MILITARIZED APPROACH TO MIGRANT DETENTION
“JOURNEY OF AN IMMIGRANT” DELEGATION:
May 16, 2014, Rio Grande Valley and Tour of STDC (Pearsall ICE/Geo-Group Detention Center). On May 16, 2014, members of a delegation trip organized by Women on the Border and its ally Austin Tan Cerca de la Frontera toured the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facility located in Pearsall, Texas, or the South Texas Detention Complex. The delegates learned how this facility is operated by GeoGroup, Inc. the multinational corporation that has operations in the prison/detention business throughout the U.S.A. and worldwide.
Report: The delegation of 12 persons split up into pairs and met briefly, under heavy guard in classrooms, with approximately 58 men. Most wore the navy blue uniform that indicates that a detainee’s only reason for being detained is that they failed to produce evidence of proper guest worker documents or citizenship. Once caught by the Border Patrol they are transferred to a detention facility where their movement is monitored and operated like a prison as the person awaits being called for a hearing before an immigration court judge. It is a civil detention as opposed to a criminal detention. However they likely went through a process similar to criminal arrest by the border patrol since they had no proof of legal authorization to be in the country and were suspected of being in the country for the sole purpose of acquiring work without valid authorization by the Department of Labor. The brief meetings with detainees in groups of about 4 persons took about 90 minutes. It was too short of a time to hear anyone’s full story. Some of the notes taken from the meetings by detainees appear below.
1. Delegates’ Notes: 5/16/2014, Tour of South Texas Detention Center (Pearsall, TX).
The physical look of detention in a for-profit center: The official label is “civil detention.” However their appearance is that of a standard jail for criminals.
EXTERIOR WALLS OF SOUTH TX DETENTION CENTER (PEARSALL, TX)
SELECTED LEGAL MATERIALS
Essential Readings on the Subject of Criminalized Detention of Migrants
**Aviva Chomsky, Undocumented: How Immigration Became Illegal (2014) (video interview)
**andre douglas pond cummings, All Eyez on Me: America’s War on Drugs and the Prison-Industrial Complex (2012)** Abstract of article by andré douglas pond-cummings (SSRN): In 1971, President Richard Nixon named drug abuse as “public enemy number one” in the United States. Since that time, an explicit “War on Drugs” has dominated the political imagination of the United States. Since declaring a War on Drugs, domestic incarceration rates have exploded, particularly in the African-American and Latino populations. Politicians such as Nixon…continue reading
Elvia Rosales Arriola, Queer, Undocumented and Sitting in an Immigration Detention Center, a Post-Obergefell Reflection, 84 UMKC L.R. 617 (2016).