Sam and Emma host Carl Lindskoog, assistant professor of history at Raritan Valley Community College, to discuss his recent book Detain and Punish: Haitian Refugees and the World’s Largest Immigration Detention System, to discuss his recent book Detain and Punish: Haitian Refugees and the World’s Largest Immigration Detention System, on how the US’s treatment of Haitian refugees worked as the blueprint for their immigration detention system today. Professor Lindskoog starts back in the ‘50s, around two decades into a period of intensely discriminatory immigration policy, banning immigration from practically anywhere that isn’t in western Europe, when the US decides to suspect their policy of immigrant detention, building up to the 1965 decision to do away with their national origin quotas in the midsts of the Civil Rights Movement. Next, however, he covers the racist backlash to both the movement as a whole and these immigration policies as, beginning in the ‘70s, the US saw an influx in Haitian migrants that worried representatives (unlike anti-communist Cuban migrants who bolstered the US image of Cuba), spilling over in the summer of 1980, as the US responds by reasserting immigrant detention, building up their private-prison complex as they start incarcerating more and more folks, both foreign and native-born. He, Sam, and Emma dive into the policy of the Reagan administration that worked to bolster this, including quarantining and expelling Haitian refugees with HIV/AIDS, followed by George H.W. Bush’s opening of the Guantanamo detention center, originally just for Haitian refugees, before touching on the neoliberal responses under Clinton, as he reinstalled President Aristide following a military coup under the requirement of subscription to neoliberal policy, and Obama, as he upheld detentions – save for a short period following the 2010 Earthquake. They wrap up the interview with a discussion on the history of organizing and direct action by Haitian refugees in jails and detention centers, before touching on Biden’s failure to make our current immigration system even more slightly humane.
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