Migrating To Prison

Through Conversations

Feb 20 2020 • 56 mins

César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández is a professor of law at the University of Denver and an immigration lawyer. He runs the blog Crimmigration.com and regularly speaks on immigration issues. He has appeared in the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, NPR, the BBC, and many other media outlets. A native of McAllen, TX, a city at the heart of the American immigration debate, he now lives in Denver.

He is also the writer of the book Migrating to Prison: America's Obsession with Locking Up Immigrants. This book, as you will hear me say a lot of times during the episode, sheds a light on an issue everyone is familiar with-- yet few understand the huge implications it can have on someone's life: Immigration Policy.

Professor Garcia Hernandez take an historical approach to understand immigration policy and, more specifically, the incarceration of immigrants. As he argues, this is not a new issue and the past can teach us a lot about how we got to the point where roughly 400,000 people—from babies to the elderly—now spend some time in prison.

In this episode we talked about many aspects of immigration policy, such as the power a passport can have in how one’s life takes shape—from having a stable life to being the reason of being incarcerated; The Industrial Prison Complex; Obama’s administration and its impact on the surge of immigrants being incarcerated; Trump’s influence in opening the Pandora’s Box of immigration policy; The Cold War and its repercussions on immigration reform, and much more.

I am certain that you will find this episode as relevant as it can get when it comes to issues we face as a society. Even though we hear all day long about immigration, few truly understand how complex this issue is, and, perhaps most importantly, why we need to talk about it more. The reason is: people. At the end of the day, human beings, such as you and me, are being locked up and facing unimaginable amounts of adversity.

What’s more, the government and the public can do something about it, only if we all internalize that this issue is more than just policy and a hot-topic as it can result in finishing with one’s hopes for a better future.

I have many thoughts about this issue, but I won’t say them right now as I can’t wait for you to listen to a true expert on this issue: César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández. I will write a blog about what my thoughts on this issue, which you can find at throughconversations.com


Links to his work:

Website: http://crimmigration.com

Book: Migrating to Prison: America’s Obsession with Locking Up Immigrants

Twitter: @Crimmigration



(3:30) Why is this issue relevant?

(5:45) The Power of a Passport.

(8:30) Jerry’s case - - A US army veteran who got deported.

(15:25) Can we divide people into two boxes? One labeled as bad and the other as white? No. Why, then, we treat immigrants as good immigrants or bad immigrants?

(19:32) The truth behind Obama’s administration and Immigration policy.

(21:50) Tump and Immigration.

(22:55) Industrial Prison Complex.

(26:40) Are inmates paid-workers?

(28:38) Would the Industrial Prison Complex change for the better if the government takes full control of prisons?

(31:20) Who really is migrating to United States, rightnow?

(34:30) Racist Bias affects minorities when it comes to incarcerating immigrants.

(37:35) Inequality, Law and Imprisonment.

(40:45) Nixon’s role in the expansion of the immigration prison system.

(43:50) Soviet Union and Prison Reform.

(45:36) What can we do about the Industrial Prison Complex?

(48:15) The path going forward and Mexico’s role in US Immigration Law

(51:15) Can the public create change when it comes to Immigration Policy?

(53:00) The solution: Eradicating the Industrial Prison Complex.

(55:05) Final Remarks and where can we find more about Professor García Hernández’ work.

Thanks for tuning in for this edition of Through Conversations Podcast!

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