Realizing Liberty: The Use of International Human Rights Law to Realign Immigration Detention in the United States
91 Pages Posted: 12 Sep 2012 Last revised: 12 Aug 2013
Date Written: August 24, 2012
This article takes a comprehensive look at the extensive U.S. immigration detention system from a human rights perspective. The article represents a first effort to synthesize and present recently-developed international human rights standards and apply those rules to the U.S. immigration detention system. It engages in an in-depth analysis to identify the changes necessary to realign U.S. law and scale back immigration detention in accord with international human rights law. The article proposes that U.S. courts should effect those changes through the interpretation of constitutional and statutory provisions in light of the international human rights law standards. This use of the human rights standards is appropriate, because the standards represent binding obligations for the United States as a matter of international law and closely track U.S. constitutional law principles relating to civil detention in contexts less contentious than immigration. The article demonstrates how the application of international human rights law standards can bring rationality and humanity to U.S. immigration detention by revitalizing the right to liberty, which constitutes a core conception in both international human rights law and U.S. constitutional law.
Keywords: immigration, human rights, detention, liberty
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