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Introducing WLRN’s new podcast: Detention By Design

Refugee Haitian - Bahamas
Antonio Olmos/Miami Herald
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Miami Herald Library;
Haitian protesters express their anger during a four hour protest at the Krome Detention center about conditions at the center and unfair treatment of Haitian detainees.

As recently as 1955 there were virtually no immigrants held in detention in the U.S. Today the federal government holds tens of thousands of migrants a day, across 130 facilities spread across the country, with the ‘border crisis’ never far from the headlines. But the story of how we got here did not start at the Mexican border - it started on Florida’s shores, 50 years ago.

Starting Sept. 7, WLRN News’ podcast Detention By Design will take you through the arrival of Haitian and Cuban migrants by boat in the 1970s and 1980s and how those waves shaped the immigration and detention system that we have in this country. Through deep, personal histories and meticulously compiled archival materials, the limited series tells the little-known story of how crude experiments in small Florida jails served as proof of concept for this sprawling national detention network.

Detention By Design is a six-episode series that is equal parts domestic and international in scope. In it, we meet dictators of all stripes; people who risked lives trying to find freedom; politicians confronted with difficult realities; and attorneys and activists who fought for the Land of the Free to be worthy of its name.

Detention by Design is funded by The Shepard Broad Foundation, in honor of its founder whose immigration story includes detention at age 14 - but also the warm embrace of the Miami community.