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Detention, deportation, devolution and immigrant incapacitation in the US, post 9/11

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Abstract

In this paper we examine perhaps the most significant shift in US immigration enforcement since the militarisation of the US–Mexico border in the late 1980s and early 1990s – the now decade-long transformation of immigration enforcement from an outwards-looking power, located at the territorial margins of the state, into also an inwards-looking power focused on resident immigrant everydays. In large measure this shift in the geography of immigration policing is due to an unprecedented devolution of a once exclusively federal power to regulate immigration to non-federal law enforcement agencies operating in non-border spaces in the post-9/11 environment. We argue that the result of this shift in the ‘where’ of immigration enforcement amounts to a spatialised tactic of immigrant ‘incapacitation’.

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