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ABSTRACT. The methodology of normative ethics can help policymakers to design better migration governance policies and practices. As a means to tap into the core values of liberal states, normative ethics indicates a novel way out from the contemporary muddle of shifting public opinion, intense media scrutiny, and international pressures. Looking specifically at the Obama Administration’s response to the summer 2014 “surge” of asylum-seeking women and children from Central America, the paper describes how this turn to detention as a tool of migration management falls short of minimum standards of fairness, justice, and common morality. The paper concludes that there is an ethical imperative to improve these gaps, including through implementing alternative to detention programs that are more consistent with ethical and sustainable approaches to immigration and asylum governance.

Keywords: family; US immigration detention; justice; asylum governance

How to cite: Silverman, Stephanie J., and Ben Lewis (2017). “Families in US Immigration Detention: What Does It Mean to Do ‘the Right Thing’?,” Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice 9(2): 95–115.

Received 7 June 2016 • Received in revised form 14 September 2017
Accepted 15 September 2017 • Available online 10 October 2017

doi:10.22381/CRLSJ9220177

STEPHANIE J. SILVERMAN
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Graduate School of Public and International Affairs,
University of Ottawa;
Centre for Ethics,
Trinity College, Toronto
(corresponding author)
BEN LEWIS
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The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

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