Immigration, Human Rights, and Language

Flynn Border Criminologies Nov 2013

An increasing number of countries around the world are relying on immigration detention as an important tool for managing their populations of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers. This development has generated a growing backlash among rights actors, who are concerned about the negative impact detention can have on the physical and psychological wellbeing of migrants. Analysis of how states have responded to criticism of their detention practices raises a number of disquieting questions:

  • Is there a relationship between states’ increasing reliance on immigration detention and their adoption of formal procedures and rights-based approaches to the deprivation of liberty?
  • If states are intent on demonizing migrants and associating them with criminality—as many states appear to be—then why bother to disguise immigration detention practices behind anodyne terminology and remain tight-fisted with statistics on this practice?
  • When immigration detention amounts to a punitive measure, which it often appears to be, should authorities provide the same procedural guarantees to these detainees that they provide criminal inmates?

Read entire article on the Border Criminologies website.