Immigration detention is becoming increasingly common. Many countries such as the US, UK, Australia, and Japan detain immigrants. Countries detain migrants in different places such as specialized detention centers, prisons, closed camps, and airports.

Migrants can be detained for different reasons in different countries. Three of the main reasons why migrants are detained are: if they enter the country irregularly, while they wait for their asylum application to be processed, and while they wait to be removed from a country. Migrants can be held in detention for different lengths of time; some countries, like the UK, detain migrants indefinitely.

It is difficult to know exactly how many immigration detainees there are worldwide. Many countries do not readily provide statistics on how many migrants they detain. As of 2011, Australia was holding about 5700 migrants in detention. The US detained about 429,000 migrants in 2011.

Conditions in detention centers vary from place to place. However, many immigration detainees suffer from a inadequate medical and mental health care and physical abuse. Detained migrants also have a difficult time accessing rights and redress within the centers.

Recent News Articles and Blogs:

The Reality of Life Inside Immigration Detention
By Azadeh Shahshahani, ACLU
November 20, 2012


In the last 15 years, we’ve witnessed a dramatic expansion in the jailing of immigrants, from about 70,000 people detained annually to about 400,000.  In the mid-1990’s, during the height of an anti-immigrant backlash, Congress passed a series of harsh measures that led to a vast increase in unnecessary detention. This trend has been exacerbated by the private prison industry and county jails looking to exploit immigrant detention for profit.  Continue reading →

Christmas Island Refugees: ‘It’s a very bad place’
Katie Derosa, Times Colonist
November 18, 2012

Christmas Island is a tiny speck on a map of the Indian Ocean. It’s a remote Australian territory, just 360 kilometres south of Jakarta and 2,600 kilometres northwest of Perth in Western Australia. But this tiny speck is the epicentre of Australia’s controversial mandatory-detention policy. Continue reading →

By Ted Hesson, ABC News
Nov. 16, 2012A series of reports released on Thursday call for the closure of 10 jails and prisons holding immigrants across the country, charging substandard medical care, lack of due process and geographic remoteness of facilities, which make it hard for detainees to reach family and lawyers. Continue reading →

Private Prison for Asylum Seekers on Pacific Island
By Pratap Chatterjee, CorpWatch
September 17, 2012

A logistics company that provides services to the mining and oil industry among others, has won a A$24.5 million (US$25.9 million) contract from the government of Australia to run a detention center for asylum seekers in the Pacific island nation of Nauru. Continue reading →


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