Protesters outside of Etowah County Jail in Alabama. Photo: Fernando Lopez

Protesters outside of Etowah County Jail in Alabama. Photo: Fernando Lopez


How are ghosts subjects that continue to speak after death? What do they say about the violence that has occurred? In her book project, “ICE on Fire: Incinerating Prison/Border Violence through Feminist Abolition Geographies,” Cinthya investigates how women and queer migrants inside ICE immigrant detention use “haunted-ness” and testimony to unsettle detention.

The locus of analysis for this book is the Adelanto ICE Processing Center. Located in San Bernardino County, two hours away from Los Angeles, Adelanto is the largest immigrant detention center in the nation and has the third-highest number of reported cases of sexual assault.

Dr. Martinez contextualizes queer migrants and women’s refusals within the state’s active destruction of the recent, living historical archive of gendered carceral state violence in forgotten prison towns like Adelanto. She reads correspondence and hunger strike demands from incarcerated women as a form of embodied feminist abolitionist praxis that counters state sexual violence and carceral violence.

This work in progress offers a critical contribution to scholarship on the U.S.-Mexico border by conceptualizing detention centers as prison-borders imbued in gendered violence. It further pushes the boundaries of border and immigration studies by centering migrant women as authors of abolitionist theory.

Arial View of the Adelanto ICE Processing Center by GEO Group