In the United States, a Congressional mandate requires that approximately Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) fill 32,000 beds in immigration detention facilities every day. In Canada, nearly 100,000 people have been detained since 2006.
But for most North Americans, these massive detention facilities are largely invisible. That’s by design. The physical architecture of these spaces remain hidden to the general public. With Undocumented: The Architecture of Migrant Detention, Toronto-based multidisciplinary artist and migrant rights organizer Tings Chak peels away this invisibility. In graphic novel form, she walks the reader through these physical spaces step by step.
The intricately illustrated book was released by The Architectural Observer last year and I recently got the chance to talk with Chak about the project and her work with Toronto grassroots organizing group No One Is Illegal.