The immigration and criminal legal system have worked together to target, incarcerate, and deport thousands of immigrants every year. But how did we get here? How has the United States been able to create the largest immigration detention system in the world?
For decades, the laws that make migration a criminal offense have helped fueled mass incarceration and family separation in the United States.
For over 100 years, groups and politicians in the United States have launched xenophobic attacks against immigrants with one goal: To create a false connection between immigrants and drugs for political gain.
Our country’s dramatic expansion of detention is largely due to “mandatory detention” laws – laws that require automatic imprisonment of a person without any consideration of their individual circumstances.