Legalized Violence in Immigration Prison Courtrooms

This ethnographic study explored interactions inside the courtrooms of immigration detention centers, or more aptly described as immigration prisons. The legalized barriers were significant against respondents. The research drew upon humanizing, Critial Race Theory, and social justice approaches of inquiry. Findings include the prison setting of the immigration court; the active prosecution by judges and government attorneys; various courtroom dynamics that impacted cases; and, the hostile environment of the immigration court. Respondents endured injustice when they were unable to hire an attorney, did not have family testimony, and did not speak English. Recommendations include the abolition of immigration prisons and punitive immigration law enforcement. Until then, restructuring the dynamics of immigration courtrooms and true immigration reform that supports the human rights of all people.