The recent outcry over family separation in the US turned the country’s attention to the southern border, but those children, mothers and fathers are just part of the larger story of immigrants detained by authorities in America. On any given day in the US, roughly 40,000 to 50,000 immigrants live under the custody of Immigration Control and Enforcement (ICE).
“Tens of thousands of people are held for three to six months or longer, sometimes years at a time,” says Caitlin Patler, a sociologist at the University of California, Davis. “The size and scope of the detention program and the way it has grown since the 1970s is staggering, but we know very little about the impact on immigrants.”
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