December 20, 2019

Good Law | Bad Law - End Migrant Prison? A Conversation w/ César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández

Aaron Freiwald, Managing Partner of Freiwald Law and host of the weekly podcast, Good Law | Bad Law, is joined by Professor César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, of the University of Denver Strum College of Law, to discuss immigration, immigration prisons, César’s own personal background, as well as his most recent book on the topic, Migrating to Prison: America’s Obsession with Locking Up Immigrants.


Over the last thirty years, the federal and state governments have increasingly tapped their powers to incarcerate people accused of violating immigration laws; but this is not how it always was, for most of America’s history we simply did not lock people up for migrating here. As a result of this shift, almost 400,000 people annually now spend some time in prison pending the result of a civil or criminal immigration proceeding. Aaron and César talk through these ideas, touching on past tensions and historical trends, law and order as it applies to immigration, the immigration court system and its origins, “legitimizing the process,” and more.


How do we think of the past in terms of immigration? And moreover, how should we think of it moving forward? César and Aaron examine the idea of the Government using prisons to impose immigration law. They consider the conditions, the costs, and the human rights – is it a forced deprivation of liberty? Should we ban immigration prisons altogether? What are the alternatives? Professor Hernández takes a hard look at the immigration prison system, how it operates and why, in his new book and makes an urgent call for the abolition of immigration prisons, advocating for a radical reimagining of the United States. In today’s episode, César talks with Aaron about this as they tackle the complex questions that surround this critical issue. Who belongs and on what criteria is that determination made?




A leading scholar, César received his AB in American Civilization and Literatures in English from Brown University, as well as his JD from Boston College. Professor Hernández is an associate professor at Denver’s Strum College of Law and a frequent commentator in national and international media. He publishes, a blog about the convergence of criminal and immigration law that is a past recipient of the 100 best law blogs honor by the ABA Journal. César’s academic interests also center on immigration and policy law. His articles about the right to counsel for immigrants in the criminal justice system, immigration imprisonment, and race-based immigration policing have appeared in the California Law Review, UCLA Law Review, BYU Law Review, Maryland Law Review, and Georgetown Immigration Law Journal, among others.


In addition to teaching and research, César’s analyses of policies affecting migrants regularly appear in the United States and abroad. He has published opinion articles in The New York Times, The Guardian, Newsweek, as well as other venues. He has also consulted with policymakers and is a member of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Immigration.



To learn more about Professor César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, please visit his bio page on Strum’s website here. 


To check out Professor Hernández’s book, Migrating to Prison: America’s Obsession with Locking Up Immigrants, please click here.



Host: Aaron Freiwald

Guest:  César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández



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