An inside look at the INS criminal justice system and its treatment of detainees
Immigration Laws and the Expanding I.N.S. Jail Complex
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In 1996, Congress passed expansive laws to control illegal immigration, imposing mandatory detention and deportation for even minor violations. Critics argued that such legislation violated civil liberties and human rights; correspondingly, in 2001, the Supreme Court ruled that many facets of the 1996 statutes were unconstitutional. Michael Welch shows how what he calls "moral panic" led to the passage of the 1996 laws and the adverse effects they have had on the Immigration and Naturalization Service, producing a booming detainee population and an array of human rights violations. Detained: Immigration Laws and the Expanding I.N.S. Jail Complex offers sensible recommendations for reform along with an enlightened understanding of immigration. In an epilogue, Welch examines closely the government's campaign to fight terrorism at home, especially the use of racial profiling, mass detention, and secret evidence.
Recently, the INS, particularly its enforcement and detention operations have expanded dramatically. This book will offer many readers their first look inside that system. It will be an invaluable guide to thinking through whether the system is fit to take on the additional responsibilities being asked of it in the post-September 11th world.
"This is a timely and striking study. Michael Welch shows the ugliness of the formidable powers given to the INS ('Expedited Removal,' 'Indefinite Detention'): asylum seekers criminalized; refugees stigmatized and illegal immigrants warehoused (20,000 in 2001, many in local jails and detention centers run for corporate profit). Detained demands an audience well beyond its subject and geographical borders."
"Welch shows in riveting detail how American immigration law and policy have increasingly relied on incarceration, locking up thousands of immigrants not because they pose any real danger, but as a collective expression of moral panic and hostility toward perceived outsiders. In the wake of September 11, as government officials exploit immigration law for criminal law ends, Welch's cogent analysis could not be more timely and important. This is critical reading for anyone concerned with how this nation of immigrants treats immigrants in the years to come."
"A well written and timely analysis of INS detention policies and the controversies surrounding them. The hallmark of Welch's work, both here and in his previous publications, is the care he takes in presenting controversial issues....Welch has written a fine book that provides a framework for understanding the extraordinary tradeoffs between security and civil liberties."
"In 1996, Congress passed expansive laws to control illegal immigration, imposing mandatory detention and deportation for even minor violations. Welch argues that 'moral panic' led to the passage of the 1996 laws, and that the laws have had adverse effects on the Immigration and Naturalization Service, producing a booming detainee population and an array of human rights violations."
"The book is most useful in recounting [the detainee's] plight to a new and wider audience."
"...offers invaluable insights that extend our understanding of both recent immigration policy and criminal justice policy."
"[Welch] provides insight into a topic that has been driven by fear, anecdotes, impressions, and stereotypes. Against the backdrop of September 11, the analysis in Detained is quite powerful....given the void in the literature and the many positive contributions it offers to sociologists, Detained moves the immigration and crime literature one major step forward in shattering the stereotypes of the crime-prone immigrant."
Read a review from Western Criminology Review, Volume 4.3 (2003), written by Kathleen Nadeau (pdf).
Visit Professor Welch's homepage, www.professormichaelwelch.com, for more information about his publications.
Michael Welch is Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. He is author of numerous articles on penology and criminalization campaigns. His other books include Punishment in America: Social Control & the Ironies of Imprisonment, Corrections: A Critical Approach, and Flag Burning: Moral Panic and the Criminalization of Protest.