MEDIA TELECONFERENCE: New Book Examines the Impacts and Costs of a Decade of Mass Criminalization and Incarceration of Migrants Since Operation Streamline

July 7, 2016

“Indefensible: A Decade of Mass Incarceration of Migrants Prosecuted for Crossing the Border,” documents the history and failures of migrant criminalization through the voices of those most impacted—including migrants and their families; and those with a firsthand view into the system— including judges, defenders, and human rights advocates. In 2015, improper entry and re-entry accounted for nearly half (49%) of all federal prosecutions. The book details the origin and evolution of Operation Streamline and the related expanded felony immigration prosecutions, that added a criminal process to a what was previously usually civil removal process, at a cost estimated at $7 billion dollars in incarceration costs alone since 2005.  The book connects the expanded migrant prosecutions to mass incarceration and overcrowding in the federal prison system, to the benefit of private prison companies. Despite costs to taxpayers and human lives, there is no evidence to suggest that incarceration deters migration, which is more strongly motivated by economic circumstances and family responsibilities.  Embargoed copies of the book available by request.

Join a media teleconference with book authors, as well as a retired judge, a former federal public defender, and a woman whose family has been torn apart by migrant prosecution.

When: July 13, 2016, Noon EDT/9AM PDT



  • Judith A. Greene, book author, criminal justice expert and Justice Strategies Director

  • Bethany Carson, book author and immigration researcher and organizer at Grassroots Leadership

  • Cecilia Equihua, Loyola Law School graduate whose father served two years in a federal prison for improper re-entry in an attempt to see his family

  • Eréndira Castillo, former federal public defender and current Criminal Justice Act private appointed attorney in Tucson, Arizona

  • Judge Felix Recio, retired Texas magistrate judge

Grassroots Leadership fights to end for-profit incarceration and reduce reliance on criminalization and detention through direct action, organizing, research, and public education. Justice Strategies is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to providing analysis and solutions to advocates and policymakers pursuing more humane and cost-effective approaches to criminal justice and immigration reform. Learn more at: and



Bethany Carson 512-499-8111,
Laura Jones 202-425-4659,