Last week, Colorado Poet Laureate Bobby LaFebre and I shared a virtual stage to talk about immigration prisons in the United States. A wordsmith with a sharp sense of urban politics, LaFebre’s art is grounded in North Denver, a neighborhood that has beat with the energy of migrant populations for generations. In recent years, North Denver has also been the city’s gentrification epicenter.
Sponsored by The Word: A Storytelling Sanctuary, a non-profit committed to diversifying the publishing industry, our conversation focused on my book, Migrating to Prison: America’s Obsession with Locking Up Immigrants. But, like in any good conversation, Bobby and I touched on much more. From the profitability of human bondage to the demonization of migration, this was an organically-evolving, free-flowing discussion about the politics of this moment and the historical trends that make today’s exploitation of migrants possible.