What are quotations from The Leavers that connect to the research on immigration detention centers?

The Leavers is a work of fiction, but the author's detailed descriptions of life in immigration detention centers reflect real conditions. In particular, Ko highlights the unsanitary and overcrowded conditions of these centers. She also emphasizes how easy it is to get forced in, and how difficult it is to get out. Many relevant quotations on this topic are in chapter 17, the story of Ardsleyville center.

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Although The Leavers is a fictional text, the way the author describes the conditions of detention centers is an accurate reflection of what many of these centers are really like. I do not know what precise research you need to connect quotations back to, but I will explain some of the quotes I feel highlight the realities of detention centers.

In Ardsleyville, it was light all the time, dogs waking you up in the middle of the night. You can’t sleep like that. (291)

Two hundred women slept in two-person bunks grouped in eight rows of three bunks each. ... None of us had any money and we couldn’t get any, unless our families knew where we were. We would work on the cleaning crew, sweeping floors, scrubbing toilets, taking out trash for fifty cents a day. (295)

These two quotes depict common conditions in detention centers. These centers are typically overcrowded and prioritize surveillance over providing comfort. These quotes could also be used to support an argument regarding the criminalization of marginalized peoples in these centers. The overcrowded conditions, labor requirements, and intense level of surveillance mirror conditions in American prisons.

Most days there wasn’t any soap and often, no water. (295)

I looked around the tables of women scooping up clumps of oatmeal with their hands. There were never enough forks or spoons. (295)

These quotes highlight how basic needs are often not met in these centers. They also show that the people in these centers typically live in unsanitary conditions. These descriptions serve to educate the reader about detention centers but also to prompt reflection on why people in these centers are treated this way. Consider what it says about the government’s priorities that they provide less than the bare minimum here.

There are also several quotes that describe common reasons why people end up in detention centers and how difficult it is for them to get legal help or information about their families. For example,

Lei was originally from Shandong and had been in the tent for almost eighteen months. She’d gotten a speeding ticket in Chicago and was shipped off to ICE. (296)

She needs a physical examination to complete her application to change her status. Of course, an exam costs three hundred bucks and they won’t give it to her at Ardsleyville. And she can’t access her bank account because ICE put a hold on her name. (296)

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