Immigrants in the Federal Court System

Authored by: Amanda Pierson , Daniel E. Martínez

Routledge Handbook on Immigration and Crime

Print publication date:  February  2018
Online publication date:  February  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138668416
eBook ISBN: 9781317211563
Adobe ISBN:


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Federal prisoners account for less than 10 percent of people currently under correction control in the United States. However, non-citizens are overrepresented in the federal court system and federal prison relative to their share of the U.S. population, which proponents of immigration restrictions often cite as justification for an increased punitive approach to immigration control. Nevertheless, as we argue in this chapter, non-citizens’ overrepresentation in this system is a direct consequence of key policy changes in the late 20th century, not the result of the criminality of immigrants as a group. In doing so, we hope to offer a critical understanding of the complicating trends in immigration law, criminal law, and the federal court system, and discuss the social impacts that these systems have on the lives of non-citizens and their families.

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