Brianna Nofil F'19

Brianna  Nofil
Assistant Professor
College of William & Mary

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships 2019
Doctoral Candidate
Columbia University
Detention Power: Jails, Camps, and the Origins of Immigrant Incarceration, 1900-2002

In 2018, the United States detained immigrants at over 400 sites, ranging from county jails to office buildings to federal detention centers. “Detention Power” examines how this distinct system of administrative custody emerged, tracing its development from the era of the Chinese Exclusion Act to the era of ICE. This project demonstrates how the immigration bureaucracy fueled the expansion of the carceral state by creating new demand for jail space, partnering with local law enforcement to surveil and police migrants, and generating opportunities for towns to profit off the incarceration of immigrants. Through the records of presidential administrations, the immigration service, and legal aid groups, as well as sources from communities at the heart of the detention business, this project recasts deportation as a federal initiative impossible to carry out without local cooperation.