Antonio P. Castro Aranda, 2012


Languages spoken: English, Spanish
Thesis Advisor: Professor Hurst Hannum

Throughout history, we have learned that human migration has been a natural occurrence due to various complex factors. Different reasons have motivated groups of individuals to abandon their lands and seek new environments to improve their lives and the lives of their loved ones. In many cases, lack of security, such as in an armed conflict, has forced people to leave their homes, fleeing persecution by their own people, seeking asylum in neighbor states, or in far and unknown lands. In other cases, the reason behind migration is a long-term economic crisis that leaves individuals with no other option but to leave their country of origin and seek a new life where their dignity can be achieved in another state.

Regardless of their motive to migrate, immigrants are often received in the new state without a welcoming hand. If the entrance into the country is unauthorized it will most likely mean that their first dwelling place in the host country could be a detention facility. In this case, the freedom of movement for many migrants ends when they set foot in the new land, conflicting with the sovereignty of the state to control or to manage migration. In this thesis, I claim that the restriction of the freedom of movement with the detention system is not a proportional measure to control migration, and I demonstrate that the consequences can lead to abuses and human rights violations without accountability.

By treating migration as a natural phenomenon, rather than a problem that needs to be solved with a punitive restriction of liberty, I assert that changes in policy can humanize the movements of people across borders, and hopefully eliminate detention, a control mechanism that has never shown to stop migrants from continuing to move around the globe.


Upon graduation from Fletcher, Antonio P. Castro Aranda returned to his position as the Pro Bono Detention Manager at the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation (PAIR) Project in Boston, MA, a job he has held since 2007. In this capacity, he has developed his knowledge representing immigration detainees and asylum seekers in the United States. He coordinates the Pro Bono AILA Panel, in collaboration with the Boston Immigration Court and the New England Chapter of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), the Pro Bono Law Firm Panel, as well as in partnerships with five area law schools. He is an Accredited Representative with the Board of Immigration Appeals, and has coordinated and provided training sessions in U.S. immigration law for hundreds of law students and immigration practitioners in New England. Previously, he worked at the International Institute of Boston as the Managing Paralegal of its Immigration Clinic and as a volunteer for its asylum program. He has worked for a number of years as an immigration law paralegal at private law offices and as a volunteer mediator at the Brookline District Court, through the Harvard Mediation Program at Harvard Law School. Antonio received his law degree from the UNED Law School in Madrid, Spain.