Articles | Volume 69, issue 5
Geogr. Helv., 69, 389–398, 2014

Special issue: Special edition Social Geography: Criminality and carcerality...

Geogr. Helv., 69, 389–398, 2014

Standard article 22 Dec 2014

Standard article | 22 Dec 2014

Transnational productions of remoteness: building onshore and offshore carceral regimes across borders

A. Mountz1 and J. Loyd2 A. Mountz and J. Loyd
  • 1Geography and Balsillie School of International Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario, Canada
  • 2Zilber School of Public Health and Urban Studies, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee, Milwaukee, USA

Abstract. This article examines transnational framings of domestic carceral landscapes to better understand the relationship between offshore and onshore enforcement and detention regimes. US detention on mainland territory and interception and detention in the Caribbean serves as a case study. While the US domestic carceral regime is a subject of intense political debate, research, and activism, it is not often analyzed in relation to the development and expansion of an offshore "buffer zone" to intercept and detain migrants and asylum seekers. Yet the US federal government has also used offshore interception and detention as a way of controlling migration and mobility to its shores. This article traces a Cold War history of offshore US interception and detention of migrants from and in the Caribbean. We discuss how racialized crises related to Cuban and Haitian migrations by sea led to the expansion of an intertwined offshore and onshore carceral regime. Tracing these carceral geographies offers a more transnational understanding of contemporary domestic landscapes of detention of foreign nationals in the United States. It advances the argument that the conditions of remoteness ascribed frequently to US detention sites must be understood in more transnational perspective.