Migrating to Prison: America’s Obsession with Locking Up Immigrants Keynote Lecture by César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández

Tuesday, February 25, 2-3:30 pm, Smathers 100


Over the last thirty years, the federal and state governments have increasingly tapped their powers to incarcerate people accused of violating immigration laws. As a result, almost 400,000 people annually now spend some time locked up pending the result of a civil or criminal immigration proceeding.

García Hernández explores the impact of immigration imprisonment in the mid-1980s, with enforcement resources deployed disproportionately against Latinos, and he looks at both the outsized presence of private prisons and how those on the political right continue, disingenuously, to link immigration imprisonment with national security risks and threats to the rule of law.  Migrating to Prison is an urgent call for the abolition of immigration prisons and a radical reimagining of the United States: who belongs and on what criteria is that determination made?

César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández is a writer and law professor at the University of Denver who focuses on migration policing. His second book, Migrating to Prison: America’s Obsession with Locking Up Immigrants (The New Press, 2019) focuses on United States’ reliance on prisons to enforce immigration law. In 2015, he published his first book, Crimmigration Law.  His analyses frequently appear in leading news sources in the United States and abroad, and he publishes crimmigration.com, a blog about the convergence of criminal and immigration law.  He is currently a member of the American Bar Association Commission on Immigration.