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Michael Welch

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The Immigration Crisis: Detention as an Emerging Mechanism of Social Control

Michael Welch discusses the immigration crisis viewing detention as a form of social control. Detaining large numbers of undocumented immigrants is a relatively recent development in Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) policy. Until the 1980s, only those deemed likely to flee and hide or who posed a security risk were detained by the INS. Since that time, political shifts have fundamentally altered immigration policy, resulting in greater reliance on detention. This article examines the major changes in detention policy and outlines some of the injustices taking place in this increasingly repressive arena. Moreover, when INS policy is viewed in the context of “the new penology,” such policy can be understood as an important mechanism of social control.

U.S. immigration and naturalization service; immigration policy; human rights violations; immigrants, illegal; prisons; asylum; penology; social control

Citation: Social Justice Vol. 23, No. 3 (1996): 169-184

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