This article analyzes the origins of the Krome detention center, an immigration prison that has its genesis in the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and the 1980 Mariel boatlift. I argue that the history of Krome maps the transformation of a single site from a Cold War nuclear launching pad to an ad hoc refugee camp to an institutionalized immigration detention center, or more precisely a jail. This site's transformation underscores a Cold War shift from fear of a Caribbean-based nuclear attack to fear of an invasion of undocumented and undesirable Caribbean migrants. In addition, this paper explores the forgotten experiment of removing and detaining Haitian refugees on an isolated military base in Puerto Rico, as an alternate location to Krome. In this vein, Krome's history maps military and migratory circuits between the United States and the Caribbean, and it underscores a longue durée of US militarism and colonialism in the Caribbean.

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