This essay addresses challenging questions surrounding efforts to promote “alternatives to immigration detention” in the context of children in administrative removal proceedings. Although there are important provisions in international law that provide protections for children in these procedures and arguably limit states’ resort to detention, there is no provision that expressly forbids the immigration detention of children and states remain extremely reluctant to relinquish their sovereign right to detain anyone, including children. Considerable focus has thus been placed on promoting “alternatives to detention” (ATDs) for children.
In his essay for this volume, the GDP’s Michael Flynn cautions that promoting ATDs for children may have important pitfalls. “If the immigration detention of children is fundamentally at odds with their best interests,” he writes, “then ‘alternatives’ likewise should not apply since by definition they form part of detention procedures. In effect, encouraging states to consider ‘alternatives’ for children may reinforce the original policy of detaining them.”
Flynn’s article is contained in a volume published by the Global Studies Institute in late 2019 that is based on presentations given at the 2017 “Geneva Human Rights Week” colloquium at the University of Geneva, entitled “Migration, State Obligations, and Rights in a Globalized Context.”
Suggested citation: Flynn, Michael. “The Debate over Alternatives to Immigration Detention of Children.” In Migration, State Obligations, and Rights in a Globalized Context (Conference Proceedings from Geneva Human Rights Week Colloquium: 11-12 October 2017). Pp. 115-117. Global Studies Institute (University of Geneva). 2019. Available at: https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/the-debate-over-alternatives-to-immigration-detention-of-children