In our first episode this season, hear from Alina Das, Professor of Clinical Law at NYU Law, on her recently published book No Justice in the Shadows: How America Criminalizes Immigrants.
Listen now below.
Alina Das is a Professor of Clinical Law at NYU School of Law, where she co-teaches and co-directs the Immigrant Rights Clinic. She and her clinic students represent immigrants and community organizations in litigation and advocacy to advance immigrant rights locally and across the country. In addition to her teaching, Das engages in scholarship on deportation and detention issues, particularly at the intersection of immigration and criminal law
This provocative account of our immigration system’s long, racist history reveals how it has become the brutal machine that upends the lives of millions of immigrants today.
Each year in the United States, hundreds of thousands of people are arrested, imprisoned, and deported, trapped in what leading immigrant rights activist and lawyer Alina Das calls the “deportation machine.” The bulk of the arrests target people who have a criminal record — so-called “criminal aliens” — the majority of whose offenses are immigration-, drug-, or traffic-related. These individuals are uprooted and banished from their homes, their families, and their communities.
Through the stories of those caught in the system, Das traces the ugly history of immigration policy to explain how the U.S. constructed the idea of the “criminal alien,” effectively dividing immigrants into the categories “good” and “bad,” “deserving” and “undeserving.” As Das argues, we need to confront the cruelty of the machine so that we can build an inclusive immigration policy premised on human dignity and break the cycle once and for all.