Workshop Convened by:

Sharry Aiken (Queen’s Law & Cultural Studies), Lisa Guenther (Queen’s Philosophy & Cultural Studies) and Stephanie J. Silverman (Trinity College, University of Toronto)

* Advance registration required – please contact

Provisional Agenda


08:00 – 08:50 – Breakfast & Registration

08:50 – 09:00 – Land Acknowledgement

09:00 – 11:45 – Walls to Bridges Collective Training Session, with Melissa Alexander, Simone Weil Davis, Rachel Fayter

11:45 – 12: 30 – Lunch

12:30 – 14:00 – Panel 1: Why Abolitionism in Immigration Detention?

Discussant: Bridget Anderson, Professor of Migration, Mobilities and Citizenship, University of Bristol

Jessica Evans, Instructor, Ryerson University Crisis, Capital Accumulation and ‘Carceral Keynesianism’ in the Aftermath of the Global Slump
José Jorge Mendoza, Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts - Lowell Abolish ICE
Stephanie J. Silverman, Lecturer, Trinity College in the University of Toronto "Then I'll huff, and I'll puff, and I'll blow your house in.” Three cautionary tales to test the argument for Canadian detention abolitionism
Allegra McLeod, Professor of Law, Georgetown University No One Is Illegal, Not One More, and Abolish ICE: Movements to End Border Imperialism

14:00 – 14:15 – Coffee Break

14:15 –15:45 – Panel 2: Epistemologies of Abolitionism

Discussant: Simone Weil Davis, Interim Director, Ethics, Society and Law Program, Trinity College in the University of Toronto

Gillian Balfour, Associate Professor, Trent University Documenting Detention: Challenges and Assumptions of Privilege and Precarity in Academic Research
Dylan Rodríguez, Professor and Chair of Academic Senate at University of California - Riverside    ‘Mass Incarceration’ is a Useless Term: Race, Domestic War, and the Long Carceral Half-Century
César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, Associate Professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law Migrating to Prison: Immigration in the Era of Mass Incarceration
Nandita Sharma, Associate Professor of Racism, Migration and Transnationalism, University of Hawai'i Manoa    States and Human Immobilization: Bridging the Conceptual Separation of Slavery, Immigration Controls, and Mass Incarceration

15:45– 17: 00 – Panel 3: Open Borders, No Borders, or Something Else? Ethical Imperatives for a World Without Immigration Detention

Discussant: TBD

Harald Bauder,  Professor of Geography and Environmental Studies, Ryerson University Perspectives of Open Borders and No Border
Joseph H. Carens, Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto Liberal Commitments to Human Rights, and a World Without Immigration Detention
Alexander Sager, Associate Professor and Philosophy Department Chair, University Studies and Philosophy, Portland State University Immigrant Detention and the Moral Logic of Abolitionism

17:30 – 19:00 – Keynote Addresses with Jonathan Simon, Adrian A. Kragen Professor of Law and Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Society, University of California – Berkeley, and others TBD (Public Event/Advance Registration Required)

Location: Robert Sutherland Hall, Room 202

19:30 –Workshop Dinner, by invitation


08:00 – 09:00 – Registration & Breakfast

09:00 – 10:30 – Panel 4: Canadian Reforms and the Lingering Penal Questions   

Discussant: Lisa Kerr, Assistant Professor, Queen’s University Faculty of Law

Sharry Aiken, Associate Professor, Queen’s University Faculty of Law Detention Abolition in the “Hard” Cases
Efrat Arbel, Assistant Professor, UBC Allard Faculty of Law    Immigration Detention and the Problem of Time: Lessons from Solitary Confinement

Siena Anstis

The Uncooperative Migrant: The Legality of Coercive Detention

M’Bai Babou Jobe, former detainee and public advocate
Harry Critchley, Burnside Prison Education Program & Coady International Institute (Nova Scotia)   

“You Are the Author of Your Own Detention”: Anti-Black Racism and the Institutional Epistemology of Ignorance in Canadian Immigration Detention Review Hearings

10:30 – 10:50 – Coffee Break

10:50 – 12:30 – Concurrent Panels

Panel 5: A Wider Lens on the Impacts of Detention on Women, Children, and Others

Discussant: Hon. Kim Pate, Senator

Susila Gurusami, Assistant Professor, University of Toronto Making it Home: Race, Gender, and Carceral Migration
Sarah Turnbull, Lecturer in Criminology, Birkbeck University Vulnerability, Immigration Detention, and (Penal) Reform
Salina Abji, SSHRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Carleton University Detention Avoidance or Detention Abolition? Analyzing the Politics of Immigration Detention for Pregnant Women and Vulnerable Groups
Marlené Mercado, PhD student in Cultural Studies, University of California - Davis Femme Technologies as Tools of Subversion and Resistance within Mexican (Im)migrant Womxn Digital Narratives
Louis-Philippe Jannard, LL.D. Cand., Université du Québec à Montréal Immigration Detention in Canada: A Socio-legal Study on the Engendering of Law

Panel 6: Abolition as Resistance to the Spread of Immigration Detention

Discussant: Elizabeth Comack, Professor of Sociology and Criminology, University of Manitoba

Michelle Brown, Professor of Sociology, University of Tennessee As Goes the South: Abolition, Immigration, and State Violence in Tennessee
David Moffette, Assistant Professor, Carleton University Moving the fight upstream: Abolitionist responses to immigration policing
Justin Piché, Associate Professor, University of Ottawa Carceral Expansion and Resistance in Canada
Sarah Ashford Hart, PhD Candidate in Performance Studies, University of California, Davis Performance Practice-as-research on Mobility and Enclosure: facilitating affective spaces of creative expression with detained immigrants

12:30 – 13:15 – Lunch

13: 15 – 14:45 – Panel 7: Anything Less is Not Enough, or the Problems with ‘Alternatives’

Discussant: TBD

Ashwini Vasanathakumar, Queen’s National Scholar in Legal and Political Philosophy Private Actors and Border Control
Nicole Myers, Assistant Professor, Queen’s University    Becoming someone’s jailer: Transforming personal relationships in the bail process
Petra Molnar, Immigration and Refugee Lawyer    Artificial Intelligence in Migrant Monitoring: Techno-Solutionism and the Impacts on Human Rights
Marlene Nava Ramos, PhD Candidate in Geography, The Graduate Center, City University of New York The Infrastructure of Immigration Detention and Expansion of Electronic Monitoring in the Era of Carceral Reforms

14:45 – 15:00 – Coffee Break

15: 15 – 16:45 – Panel 8: Learning from the Recent Past: Reducing or Eliminating Detention in Canada

Discussant Nasrin Azar, Member of TRAC, co-chair of the Inland Protection Working Group (Canadian Council for Refugees)

Lisa Guenther, Queen's National Scholar in Political Philosophy and Critical Prison Studies    Decarcerating Immigration: Lessons from Prison Abolition Movements
Roula Eatrides, Chairperson of the Immigration Division, Immigration and Refugee Board Reforms at the IRB
Hilary Evans Cameron, Bora Laskin National Fellow in Human Rights Research Detention, error preference, and risk salience: Lessons from Jason Kenney
Janet Cleveland, Researcher, McGill University; Michaela Beder, Lecturer in Psychiatry, University of Toronto; Hanna Gros, International Human Rights Program, University of Toronto Faculty of Law;Rachel Kronick, Assistant Professor, McGill University Advocacy against immigration detention in Canada: comparing strategies of change

16:45 – 17:30 – Wrap-Up, Rapporteurs’ Report-Backs, and Discussion of Next Steps