SOC 384: Crime, Law, and Immigration

The U.S. is home to the largest immigrant detention and deportation system in the world, with over 3.1 million immigrants under government control just in 2019*. However, the incarceration, deportation, and surveillance of immigrants and asylum seekers is not unique to the United States nor is it new. In this class, we will investigate the following questions:

  1. What is the role of the law in the production of the U.S. immigrant-detention system?
  2. Are immigrants who are incarcerated indeed “criminals”? if not, why are they treated as such? 
  3. Who are the key actors benefiting from the immigrant-detention system?
  4. How do these processes in the U.S. compare to other countries around the world?
  5. What are the consequences for immigrants, nonimmigrants, and their communities?
  6. What are immigrants and citizens doing to justify, legitimate, or resist this system?


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