Immigration Detention and the Law: U.S. Policy and Legal Framework A Global Detention Project Working Paper
One year ago, in August 2009, the Barack Obama administration announced that it intended to transform the much criticized U.S. immigration detention regime into a “truly civil detention system.” Among the
planned changes were reducing the number of jails and prisons used to confine immigration detainees, implementing closer oversight of detention centers, improving the treatment of detainees, and restricting
controversial practices like the detention of children.
Between then and now, the country has seen the debate over immigration become increasingly heated and divisive, fanned by the passage of contentious state laws like Arizonas “Support Our Law Enforcement and
Safe Neighborhoods Act.”
This Global Detention Project working paper, “Immigration Detention and the Law: U.S. Policy and Legal Framework,” is intended to assist scholars, activists, practitioners, and concerned members of the public
in taking stock of the current state of U.S. immigration detention policies and practices. The paper covers everything from the countrys relevant international legal commitments and the grounds for detention
provided in domestic law, to recent court rulings on the rights of detainees and the increasing trend in criminalizing immigration violations, particularly at the state and local levels.
The working paper is available here: