Tuesday, June 7, 2022
Yesterday was the first full day of conferencing at the biennial (though much delayed) immprof conference (ILSTW 2022). I attended WIP sessions for a number of very fascinating pieces. Check it out:
Ahilan Arulanantham, Towards a Theory of Preventative Detention. In this piece, Ahilan explores the history of preventative detention practices, including quarantines, civil commitments, pre-trial, national security and immigration. He notes that, historically, preventative detention was not acceptable to deter crime. Given that, he argues that preventative detention today should be limited to situations "where the conduct it seeks to prevent cannot be punished under criminal law." That is, it should not be based on "public safety," which so frequently is the modern explanation for immigration detention.
Paulina Arnold, How Immigration Detention Became Exceptional. Paulina, like Ahilan, is interested in immigration detention. She presents historical evidence that the detention of immigrants was "a central part of civil incarceration at its inception." Among her fascinating factual nuggets is this: "in the St. Louis Workhouse in 1855, at a time when immigrants represented 13% of Missouri's population, they comprised 90% of the workhouse population." Paulina's work moves through 19th century civil incarceration, through the birth of immigration detention, to the dramatic reduction of civil incarceration (that somehow missed immigration), to immigration detention today. She presents constitutional law arguments regarding "civil carceral law."
Alina Das discussed an early idea -- exploring whether the Accardi doctrine (that agencies must follow their own rules when acting) could help individuals in detention vindicate more of their rights. This paper offers real promise given the litany of "rights" that immigrants in detention are supposed to have yet are prohibited from accessing.
Emily Torstveit Ngara, Cruel and Unusual Penalty? The Use of Punitive Solitary in Civil Immigration Detention. Emily has been long interested in the regular use of solitary confinement in immigration detention to both "protect" (as in the case of trans and LGBTQ migrants) and to punish for disciplinary infractions. This piece will explore the latter context, looking at the practices, harms, and legal challenges to solitary confinement.
Eunice Lee, Immigration in the Shadow of Death. Eunice is exploring the United States' "tolerance of undue risk of mortality" throughout the immigration system, including: border wall deaths, desert crossing deaths, cross border shootings, detention deaths, deaths resulting from Title 42 expulsions, and deportation to death. Individually, you might be aware of each of these areas but putting them all together sharply highlights, as Eunice writes, the "core assumption that immigrant lives matter less than citizens' lives."
Ana Pottratz Acosta, An Examination of Public Benefit Enrollment Data from Minnesota as Evidence of Public Charge Chilling Effect Within Immigrant Communities. In this empirical piece, Ana will examine enrollment data for means tested public benefits programs in Minnesota to see if decreased enrollment followed the publication of draft and final public charge regulations. Empiricists -- reach out and give Ana the skinny on this type of work!
Alan Hyde, Our Immigration Narrative: What and How. Alan is sitting on a self-proclaimed "unpublishable book" (I disagree about this characterization) that calls for the creation of a vision for immigration law that might help shape future litigation and legislation.
If you're interested in these papers, I highly recommend that you reach out to the authors. I'm sure they've love to brainstorm with you and hear ideas & comments!