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American Gulag: Inside U.S. Immigration Prisons

American Gulag: Inside U.S. Immigration Prisons
Author: Mark Dow
ISBN 13: 9780520246690
ISBN 10: 520246691
Edition: New Ed
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: 2005-10-03
Format: Paperback
Pages: 428
List Price: $31.95

"Prisoners who have had no trial, guards who humiliate and assault them: It sounds like a scene from Stalin's U.S.S.R., but it is a reality in the United States today. American Gulag tells the horrifying story of men, women and children detained indefinitely by U.S. immigration officials as it has never been told before. It sounds an alarm for us all."—Anthony Lewis, author of Gideon's Trumpet

"Through the eyes and ears of immigration prisoners, their lawyers, and their jailers, Mark Dow sheds light on the netherworld of immigration detention, and compels us to confront how we treat the most vulnerable and voiceless among us. His work is a clarion call for justice from behind bars by those who have been sentenced to serve time without having ever committed a crime." David Cole, author of Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism

The New Yorker

Long before Abu Ghraib, and even before September 11th, detainees in America’s immigration prisons were being stripped, beaten, and sexually abused. Dow has spent years interviewing inmates, guards, and officials, and he gives a jarring account of a dangerously arbitrary system. Alien inmates—from political refugees who present themselves at airports to permanent residents convicted of misdemeanors—can be locked up for years, in harsh conditions, with no real recourse. Dow argues that the practices of the I.N.S. (which was folded into the Department of Homeland Security in 2003) laid the groundwork for the indefinite detentions and the muting of civil liberties after September 11th. By “blurring the distinction between alien, criminal, and terrorist,” detention takes on its own brutal logic. After a Somali man is left to bake in the sun in a sealed car to discourage others from applying for asylum, an immigration official explains, “I’m not trying to prosecute them. I just want them to quit coming here.”