“The Terror of ‘Safety:’ Christianity, Immigrant Policing, and Detention at the Nation’s Edge”

Leah Sarat (Arizona State University)

Drawing upon a decade of experience navigating the boundaries between academic and activist spaces in Arizona, Sarat will highlight the stories of two Christian leaders whose lives have been closely impacted by the private, for-profit immigrant detention industry in the state: an asylum-seeker from El Salvador who emerged as a peer faith healer during four years at Arizona’s Eloy Detention Center, and the former national Director of Chaplaincy for CoreCivic, the company that profited from her time behind bars. While these stories provide insight onto the commodification of human beings that contributes to immigrant policing in borderlands, they also offer a window onto the intersection of Christianity with broader debates about safety, fear, liberation, healing, and personhood within the U.S. carceral landscape. Dr. Sarat is author of Fire in the Canyon: Religion, Migration, and the Mexican Dream (NYU Press, November 2013).

Banu Gokariksel, Professor of Geography and The Caroline H. and Thomas S. Royster Distinguished Professor for Graduate Education at The Graduate School at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill will be the featured concluding speaker.