Challenging Immigration Detention
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Challenging Immigration Detention

Academics, Activists and Policy-makers

Edited by Michael J. Flynn and Matthew B. Flynn

Immigration detention is an important global phenomenon increasingly practiced by states across the world in which human rights violations are commonplace. Challenging Immigration Detention introduces readers to various disciplines that have addressed immigration detention in recent years and how these experts have sought to challenge underlying causes and justifications for detention regimes. Contributors provide an overview of the key issues addressed in their disciplines, discuss key points of contention, and seek out linkages and interactions with experts from other fields.
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Chapter 13: Back to basics? The limited use of immigration detention in South America: an interpretation based on international human rights treaties and principles

Pablo Ceriani Cernadas


The author explores why processes that have spurred growth in immigration detention in much of the world have thus far failed to have the same impact in most South American countries. The chapter provides a legal interpretation of relevant provisions in the United Nations Convention on Migrant Workers to argue that while the Convention regulates aspects of immigration-related detention, the focus of any effort to challenge growth in immigration detention should be the right to liberty and related human rights standards. The chapter discusses developments in South America through the lens of these human rights standards to argue that while the region’s general failure to adopt aggressive detention regimes may appear to be anomalous when compared to other regions, what is truly exceptional is how detention has become normalized across most of the globe and legitimated as a necessary tool to respond to the multidimensional, structural phenomenon of irregular migration.

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