Article

Undocumented Migrants and Detention Facilities

Jelka Zorn

in Encyclopedia of Social Work

Published by NASW Press and Oxford University Press


Published online October 2014 | e-ISBN: 9780199975839 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780199975839.013.1066

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  • International and Global Issues in Social Work
  • Social Policy and Advocacy
  • Social Work Practice Settings
  • Race and Ethnicity
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Being undocumented does not mean being without ties to one’s host society: undocumented immigrants might work and have family and friends; they might be active in community life, etc. However, due to a lack of formal status, they are vulnerable to detention and deportation. Instead of vilifying migrants for their irregular situation, the article sees immigration controls as a source of unjust policies and practices. Immigrant detention means administrative imprisonment without the normal due process safeguards commonly demanded in liberal democracies. Its consequences are separated families and broken individuals. Social work is seen as a profession developing ethical considerations and arguments to advocate for the right to belong to an organized political community, the right to social security, and the right to personal liberties being applicable to all people, regardless of their immigration status.

Keywords: undocumented migrants; detention; separated families; immigration control; activism; borders; social work

Article.  8992 words. 

Subjects: International and Global Issues in Social Work ; Social Policy and Advocacy ; Social Work Practice Settings ; Race and Ethnicity ; Social Justice and Human Rights

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