Theses Master's

How For-Profit Detention Perpetuates Human Rights Violations Against Migrants in the United States

Noble, Mariah

Privatized immigration detention in the United States allows for-profit corporations to take on State responsibilities without being subjected to the same standards of transparency and accountability. Advocates have long expressed concerns over how this authority is regulated and who is responsible for human rights violations that occur for people held in for-profit detentions. This thesis aims to examine how privatization has affected the human rights of detained migrants held there. The literature review will provide background information on immigration detention in the United States, explore circumstances that led to widespread acceptance of privatized detention, and examine common critiques of the practice.

The paper will then look at overlap between international human rights and U.S. for-profit immigration detention in terms of engagement with international human rights mechanisms, State-mandated standards for care of migrants in detention, and corporate engagement with human rights from for-profit prison companies. Next, it will evaluate conditions of detention under various custodial entities, including State and local governments as well as for-profit corporations, by scrutinizing their shared economic drivers and the division of responsibility versus accountability. Finally, it will summarize the effects of U.S. for-profit immigration in the context of transparency and accountability and examine outcomes in social and political spheres before drawing conclusions.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Institute for the Study of Human Rights
Thesis Advisors
Salyer, J.C.
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
August 10, 2022