The full-on attack on immigrant communities by the current administration – exemplified by the family separation crisis and the “zero-tolerance” policy – has exposed the relationship between immigration policy and the prison industrial complex in the US. The continuous expansion of mass incarceration, which in the last 20 years has increasingly targeted immigrants, has had a profound effect on the shape of government. With an ever-expanding number of federal and local agencies caging immigrants, the American gulag is metastasizing. What does this mean for immigrants living in and coming to the US? What can be done to stop it? This presentation aims to answer these questions and also offer a primer on the current state of immigration detention in the US.
Silky Shah is the Executive Director of Detention Watch Network (DWN), a national coalition dedicated to abolishing the immigration detention system in the US. She has worked as an organizer on issues related to immigration detention, mass incarceration, and racial and migrant justice for over 15 years. She is regularly interviewed by national media outlets including The Guardian, La Opinión, The Hill, NPR, The Nation, and Houston Chronicle, and has appeared on MSNBC. Prior to joining DWN in 2009 Silky worked with Grassroots Leadership fighting the expansion of immigrant jails on the US-Mexico border and with the independent news program, Democracy Now!, in New York.