Mexico Detention Profile
Mexico’s dual roles as a source and transit country for migrants traveling to North America have helped conspire to make it one of the most active detaining countries in the world. With a long-term detention capacity of more than 3,500, the country’s immigration detention estate is bigger than those of large European countries like France and Spain. During 2012, the country detained nearly 90,000 migrants. This compares to 10,000 in Italy in 2011 and 25,000 in the United Kingdom in 2010. In 2011, the country adopted its first comprehensive immigration legislation, the Ley de Migracion. Although widely viewed as an important step forward in the effort to protect the rights of immigrants in Mexico, observers have expressed concern that protections provided for vulnerable people, like children, are often not implemented. In 2012, Mexico detained more than 6,000 minors.
Poland Detention Profile
Although it is not a major immigration destination country, Poland is viewed by the European Union as one of the region’s key border countries, a fact symbolized by the EU’s decision to base its border protection agency, Frontex, in Warsaw. Even before it joined the EU, Poland’s neighbors spent lavishly to boost the country’s border controls. The country’s sizable immigration detention infrastructure reflects its intended role as a gatekeeper for the region. It currently boasts 12 long-term detention centres, which have a total capacity of just under a 1,000. Observers report that these facilities are rarely at capacity. Despite this, many of the facilities appear to be unable to provide basic services to detainees, which has led to a series of protests and hunger strikes. The turmoil spurred the government to undertake a thorough review of detention conditions last December. Among the concerns expressed by Interior Ministry officials was the need to prevent the country from looking like a “Polish hell.”
The Global Detention Project recently received a generous grant from the Open Society Foundation to support our efforts to develop data and comparative analyses on detention regimes in three regions of the world: the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Central America.