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Punishing Immigrants: U.S. Immigration Enforcement and the PIC

Calls for abolition and defund the police have at times been coupled with calls to abolish ICE and organizing against criminalization and punishment often includes targeting immigration enforcement. Immigrant rights work is increasingly connecting to the decades-long movement to abolish the prison industrial complex. This educational lecture seeks to support these efforts by encouraging political and data literacy regarding the intersection of the U.S. criminal punishment system (often called the criminal justice system) and U.S. immigration enforcement.

Topics that will be covered are some of the differences between immigration law and criminal law, a brief overview of the Department of Homeland Security’s immigration enforcement agencies, contemporary policies and programs that involve cooperation between immigration enforcement and police and the criminal punishment system, various categories of immigrants/immigration programs, patterns of detention and deportation, and differences between criminal and non-criminal deportations. We will also learn about some of the relevant data sources.

While this event and all of our events are freely available, we ask that those who are able please make a solidarity donation in support of this important work. Part of the proceeds from this event will go to the UndocuBlack Network (UBN) and the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI).


Tamara K. Nopper is a sociologist, writer, educator, and editor with experience in Asian American community organizing, immigrant rights, and anti-war activism. She is the editor of We Do This ‘Til We Free Us: Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice, a book of Mariame Kaba’s writings and interviews (Haymarket Books), and researcher and writer of several data stories for Colin Kaepernick’s Abolition for the People series. She is a Fellow at Data for Progress, an Affiliate of The Center for Critical Race and Digital Studies, a member of the inaugural cohort of the NYU Institute for Public Interest Technology, and a 2021-2022 Faculty Fellow at Data & Society as part of a cohort focused on race and technology.