The Creation of an Offshore Detention Archipelago
Chapter 5 tells the history of the Bush- and Clinton-era creation of an offshore detention archipelago in the Caribbean. This transnational Caribbean history is an important, immediate precursor to the expansion deterrence operations along the U.S.-Mexico border in the 1990s and the use of Guantánamo Naval Base during the War on Terror. As the numbers of Haitians and Cubans held on Guantánamo exceeded forty thousand, the United States opened camps for Cubans on its military base in Panama and built additional “safe haven” sites in other countries in the Caribbean. We show how the use of offshore sites was designed to prevent the arrivals of asylum seekers on U.S. shores. This moment provides a window into the insipid lengths that the executive branch went to in order to redraw legal geographies and thereby separate domestic territory from international waters (and international refugee law).
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