Located in California's southeastern corner, the city of El Centro sits in the mountainous desert of the Imperial Valley. It was home to the El Centro Immigrant Detention Center, “one of the oldest continuously operating detention centers in the United States (until recently)” (3). Despite its long history, little was documented of the detention facility in local archives. For Jessica Ordaz, this forgetting was representative of a larger historical erasure that masked violence against migrants under Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) custody. Her book aims to unpack the history of an otherwise buried yet important federal facility. Across seven chapters, Ordaz looks within the El Centro Immigrant Detention Center, from its origins in 1945 to its closing in 2014, to uncover state practices of migrant labor exploitation and punishment, and in turn she reveals migrant resistance as transnational radical solidarity.

Ordaz's central claim is that the El Centro Immigration Detention...

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