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The Long Troubled History of US Immigration Detention and the Case for Ending It

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Ana Raquel Minian's new book is "In the Shadow of Liberty: The Invisible History of Immigrant Detention in the United States." (Courtesy of Ana Raquel Minian)

During the Trump Administration, scenes of children separated from parents and placed in chain link cells that looked like cages caused a national outcry. But the policy of immigration detention in the U.S. is far from new. With historical roots in slavery and the treatment of indigenous people, it has been used on Jews fleeing Nazi Germany, migrants from civil wars in Central America and immigrants from around the world since the policy was codified in 1891. In her new book, “In the Shadow of Liberty,” Stanford professor Ana Raquel Minian traces the nation’s detention policy by focusing on individual stories of immigrants past and present. We talk to Minian about why she believes immigrant detention doesn’t make us safer and her recommendations for a different path forward.


Ana Raquel Minian, associate professor of history, Stanford University; author, "In the Shadow of Liberty" and "Undocumented Lives: The Untold Story of Mexican Migration"


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