Monday, January 24, 2022

Immigration Article of the Day: Lawyering from a Deportation Abolition Ethic by Laila Hlass

image from

The Immigration Article of the Day is Lawyering from a Deportation Abolition Ethic by Laila L. Hlass, forthcoming in the California Law Review (2022).

Here is the abstract:

Carceral abolitionists seek the dismantling of policing, prosecutors, prisons and surveillance in furtherance of a vision of community safety based in investing in robust community resources. Immigration policing, surveillance and detention can be understood as one part of the larger interlocking systems of social control over communities of color through the prison industrial complex. Deportation abolitionists work to end immigrant detention, enforcement and deportation, explicitly understanding immigrant justice as part of a larger racial justice fight connected to resisting white supremacy. This Article maps how the deportation state aligns with the carceral state, tracing two important strains of immigration legal history, which parallel broader policing histories: how the immigration legal system explicitly and implicitly has built racial hierarchies, and the skyrocketing enforcement and detention budget facilitating the militarization of immigration policing. This Article also describes how a number of deportation abolition initiatives emerged to challenge the foundations of immigration law, policy and practices as a racist means of social control, as well as building power in communities to disrupt and shift the very structure of the detention and deportation state. Most of these organizations have few, if any, lawyers on staff. This may reflect efforts to center directly-affected people and creative organizing strategies, or fears about the limitations for lawyers, who at times have a role as an officer of the court, operating within an existing legal system. This Article argues that immigration lawyers interested in moving towards deportation abolition can respond to these tensions. Ultimately, aspiring deportation abolition lawyers can play significant support roles in efforts to radically transform the immigration legal system, as well as in complementary harm reduction efforts, representing those entangled in the deportation system. This Article draws on the intellectual underpinnings and strategies of current deportation abolition initiatives to propose a framework for lawyers seeking to practice a deportation abolition ethic.


Law Review Articles & Essays | Permalink


Post a comment