Friday, November 15, 2013

Hernández on the Abusive Detention of Immigrants, 1933

Via H-Law, we have word of a session of the Boston Immigration and Urban History Seminar to be held at the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1154 Boylston Street, Boston, on Tuesday, November 26, commencing at 5:15 p.m.  David Hernández, Mount Holyoke College, will speak on "'A Place Reeking with Rottenness': The 'Corpus Christi Situation' (1933) and Legacies of Abusive Immigrant Detention."
 In July 1933, an internal investigation of the Immigration Service in Texas exposed allegations of violence, sexual abuse, extortion, and coerced testimonies taking place at the private immigrant detention facility run by Julia and Olivia Valente. The "Corpus Christi Situation," as it was also known, included collusion with Immigration Service officers as well as sexual impropriety and legal deception. The Valente Detention Home is a scandalous example of detainee abuse at the hands of immigration authorities and their surrogates. It is more importantly part of a legacy of detainee abuse--from denial of legal rights and poor conditions of incarceration to violence, sexual abuse, and death that is widespread in immigrant facilities today. The case of the Valente Detention Home thus provides the operating terms for understanding contemporary detention practices, in particular, the use of private and nonfederal facilities and management for detaining immigrants.
Daniel Kanstroom, Boston College Law School, will provide a comment.  An  RSVP required, to  Each seminar in this series “consists of a discussion of a pre-circulated paper provided to our subscribers. (Papers will be available at the MHS on the day of the event for those who choose not to subscribe.)  Afterwards the Society will provide a light buffet supper. In case of inclement weather, please phone 617-536-1608 for information.”