Is Infiltrating Migrant Prisons the Most Effective Way to Challenge Detention Regimes? The Case of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance: GDP Working Paper No. 17

Summary: Since 2011, members of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance have repeatedly “infiltrated” immigration detention centers in the United States. This paper describes these infiltrations by undocumented immigrants and what we can learn from them. The stories, told from the perspective of the infiltrators, reveal details that non-profit organizations and activist scholars have struggled to illuminate, something that only the detained and liberated can show: the lived experience of detention. The authors argue that these stories demonstrate that civil disobedience, a strategy often ignored by allies and advocates of undocumented immigrants, can be an effective tool to counter growing detention and deportation systems.