top of page
Curriculum Vitae






D. Phil., Department of Politics and International Relations, St Antony’s College, University of Oxford

Thesis Title: The Normative Ethics of Immigration Detention in Liberal States

M.A., Department of Political Science, York University, High Distinction

Postgraduate Certificate in Forced Migration Studies, York University

H.B.A., Departments of Political Science & World Literature, University of Toronto


2019 - 2021: 

Research Associate, Centre for Refugee Studies, York University

2018 - 2019:

Assoc. Director (Interim), Ethics, Society, and Law Program, University of Toronto

2015 - 2019:

Lecturer, Ethics, Society, and Law / Trinity One Program

2015 - 2018:

SSHRC Postdoctoral Research Fellow & Bora Laskin National Fellow in Human Rights Research, Graduate School of Political & International Affairs, University of Ottawa

2013 - 2014:

Postdoctoral Fellow, The Jack and Mae Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime and Security, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University

2012 - 2015:

Postdoctoral Fellow, Refugee Research Network, York University


2021 - present: 

Program Specialist at the Program Management Directorate,

Refugee Protection Division, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

Adviser, Refugee Protection Division, Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada

2019- 2020:



Single-Authored Scholarly Book

Under Review:

Silverman, Stephanie J. The Detention Estate: Canada’s Shadow Prison System and the Future of Migration Control. (Montreal: McGill-Queens University Press).


Edited Scholarly Book


Nethery, Amy and Stephanie J. Silverman, Eds. Immigration Detention: The Migration of a Policy and its Human Impact. (Abingdon: Routledge, paperback published in 2017).

Special Issues of Peer-Reviewed Journals (2)


Aiken, Sharry and Stephanie J. Silverman, Eds. Abolishing Detention: Bridging Prison and Migrant Justice, Special Issue of Citizenship Studies.



Silverman, Stephanie J. and Evelyne Massa, Eds. (2012) Immigration Detention, Special Issue of Population, Space and Place Vol. 18, No. 6.


Peer-reviewed Articles and Book Chapters (25)


Silverman, Stephanie J. and Sharry Aiken. ‘DeCarceral Futures: Bridging Migrant and Prison Justice towards an Abolitionist Future’. Citizenship Studies.

2021/In press:

Silverman, Stephanie J. ‘Springing Amir’. Migration and Society Vol. 4.



Silverman, Stephanie J. and Esra S. Kaytaz. ‘Examining the “National Risk Assessment for Detention” Process: An Intersectional Analysis of Detaining “Dangerousness" in Canada’, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Advanced Access Online.


Silverman, Stephanie J. ‘Canada: The Cordon Sanitaire and the Shifting Threats of the COVID-19 Pandemic’. State and civil society responses during the COVID-19 pandemic towards detention. Eds. Philips, Melissa, Vivienne Chew, and Min Yamada Park. Australia: Western Sydney University’s Humanitarian and Development Research Initiative.



Silverman, Stephanie J. 'What Habeas Corpus Can (and Cannot) Do for Immigration Detainees: Scotland v Canada and the Injustices of Imprisoning Migrants', Canadian Journal of Law and Society, 34 (01), 145 - 61.


Silverman, Stephanie J. and Molnar, Petra.  'Caged at the Border: Immigration Detention and the Denial of Human Rights to Asylum Seekers and Other Migrants', in Jean H. Quataert and Lora Wildenthal, Eds. The Routledge History of Human Rights (London: Routledge).

  • Winner, Humanities, Media and Arts Handbook prize



Silverman, Stephanie J. 'The EU’s Hotspot Approach: Questionable Motivations and Unreachable Goals', E-International Relations (17 April).


Silverman, Stephanie J. 'Under the Umbrella of Administrative Law: Immigration Detention and the Challenges of Producing Just Immigration Law', APA Newsletter on Hispanic/Latino Issues in Philosophy, 17 (03), 9 - 12.



Silverman, Stephanie J. and Benjamin J. Lewis. 'Families in US Immigration Detention: What Does It Mean to Do ‘The Right Thing’?', Contemporary Readings in Law and Social Justice, 9 (02), 95 - 115.


Silverman, Stephanie J. 'Alternatives to Detention', in Nanette Neuwhal and Armin Boroumand (eds.), In the Interest of the Child (Montréal: Themis Edition).


Mainwaring, Cetta and Stephanie J. Silverman. 'Detention-as-Spectacle', International Political Sociology, 11 (01), 21 - 38.



Silverman, Stephanie J. '“Imposter-Children” in the UK Refugee Status Determination Process', Refuge: Canada's Journal on Refugees, 32 (03), 30 - 39.


Silverman, Stephanie J. and Amrita Hari. 'Troubling the Fields: Choice, Consent, and Coercion of Canada's Seasonal Agricultural Workers', International Migration, 54 (05), 91 - 104.


Silverman, Stephanie J. and Petra Molnar. 'Everyday Injustices: Barriers to Access to Justice for Immigration Detainees in Canada', Refugee Survey Quarterly, 35 (01), 109 - 27.


Silverman, Stephanie J. ‘The Difference that Detention Makes', in Alex Sager (ed.), The Ethics and Politics of Immigration: Core Issues and Emerging Trends (London: Rowman and Littlefield), 105 - 24.


Silverman, Stephanie J. 'Mothers Versus Texas: Ethical Problems With Local ‘Attrition Through Enforcement’ Ordinances In The United States', The Critique (January).


Silverman, Stephanie J. 'At any cost: the injustice of the “4 and 4 rule” in Canada', Beyond Trafficking and Slavery: Migration and Mobility <>, accessed July.


Molnar, Petra and Stephanie J. Silverman. 'Cracks Where the Light Gets In: Recent Legal Breakthroughs in Detention and Crimmigration in Canada'. Metropolitics (December).



Silverman, Stephanie J. and Amy Nethery. 'Understanding immigration detention and its human impact', in Amy Nethery and Stephanie J. Silverman (eds.), Immigration Detention: The Journey of a Policy and its Human Impact (London: Routledge), 1 - 12.



Silverman, Stephanie J. 'In the Wake of Irregular Arrivals: Changes to the Canadian Immigration Detention System', Refuge: Canada's Periodical on Refugees, 30 (02).


Silverman, Stephanie J. 'Detaining Immigrants and Asylum Seekers: A Normative Introduction', Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 17 (05: New Challenges in Immigration Theory), 600 - 17.

Silverman, Stephanie J. 'Internment in the United Kingdom During the Twentieth Century and Its Links to the Evolution of Immigration Detention', International Journal of Criminology and Sociology, 3, 168 - 74.



Silverman, Stephanie J. 'Questions over alternatives to detention programmes', Forced Migration Review, 44 (Detention, Alternatives to Detention, and Deportation), 59 - 60.



Silverman, Stephanie J. (2012), ''Regrettable but Necessary'? A Historical Study of the UK Immigration Detention Estate and its Opposition ', Politics & Policy, 40 (6), 1131 - 57.


Silverman, Stephanie J. and Massa, Evelyne (2012), 'Why Immigration Detention is Unique', Population, Space and Place, 18 (06), 677 - 86.


Refereed Working Papers (5)


Silverman, Stephanie J. and Melanie B.E., Griffiths and Peter Walsh. 'Immigration Detention in the UK', Migration Observatory Briefings (updated 29 May; also 2019, 2018, 2016, 2012, 2011, 2010

  • downloaded over 50,000 times and referenced by the BBC World Service, USA Today, The Guardian, and other media sources.



Silverman, Stephanie J. and Lewis, Benjamin. 'Ending the Routine Use of Immigration Detention: The Moral Argument for Alternatives in the United States and Beyond', CARFMS/ACERMF Working Paper No 2016/1 (Toronto: Ryerson University), 30.



Silverman, Stephanie J. and Molnar, Petra. 'Unshackled Discretion: Barriers to Procedural Justice in the Canadian Immigration Detention System', Detention and Asylum Research Cluster Working Paper No 1 (York University: Refugee Research Network), 28.



Silverman, Stephanie J.. 'Return to the Isle of Man: The Implications of Internment for Understanding Immigration Detention in the UK', COMPAS Working Paper 12-102 (Oxford: ESRC Centre on Migration, Policy and Society), 19.



Silverman, Stephanie J. 'Immigration Detention in America: A History of its Expansion and a Study of its Significance', COMPAS Working Paper 10 - 80 (Oxford: ESRC Centre on Migration, Policy and Society), 33.


Policy Brief for Government


Vives, Luna and Silverman, Stephanie J. (2019). 'Unaccompanied and Separated Migrant Children in Canada: Towards a Best Interests of the Child Framework,' Brief for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada - Policy Division.


Book Reviews (8)


Silverman, Stephanie J. (2015). ‘Tom K. Wong, Rights, Deportation, and Detention in the Age of Immigration Control,’ Border Criminologies, published online January.



Silverman, Stephanie J. (2014). ‘Tings Chak, Undocumented: The Architecture of Migrant Detention,’ Transnational Social Review, Vol. 5, No. 3.



Silverman, Stephanie J. (2013). ‘Dominique Moran, Nick Gill, and Deirdre Conlon, editors, Carceral Spaces: Mobility and Agency in Imprisonment and Migrant Detention,’ Social and Cultural Geography, Vol. 16, No 7.



Silverman, Stephanie J. (2012). ‘Alexandra Hall, Border Watch,’ Canadian Journal of Political Science, Vol. 46, No. 4.



Silverman, Stephanie J. (2011). ‘Anne McNevin, Contesting Citizenship: Irregular Migrants and New Frontiers of the Political,’ Journal of Refugee Studies, Vol. 25, No. 2.



Silverman, Stephanie J. (2010). ‘Ethan B. Kapstein, and Joel H. Rosenthal, eds, Ethics and International Relations,’ Political Studies Review Vol. 10, No. 2.


Conference Proceedings (3)


Silverman, Stephanie J. (2011), ‘How Long is Too Long? A Preliminary Examination of the Practice of Protracted Immigration Detention in Canada.’ Proceedings of the Ethnic and Pluralism Studies Graduate Research Conference (Toronto, Munk School), 12.


Silverman, Stephanie J. (2011), 'Child Matters: A Study of the Ethical and Practical Dilemmas of Detaining Child Immigrants in Canada', Proceedings of the “People and Politics”: Interactions Between Citizens and the State in Canada Conference (Sackville, New Brunswick: Mt Alison University), 15.



Silverman, Stephanie J. (2008) Redrawing The Lines of Control: What Political Action Undertaken by Refugees in Border Detention Centres Can Tell Us About International Politics. Proceedings of the Dead/Lines: Contemporary Issues in Legal and Politics Theory Conference (Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh), 15.


Other Publications (Selected)


Silverman, Stephanie J. (2019). Opinion: What about the thousands of women in Canada with stories similar to Rahaf’s?. The Toronto Star, published 16 January



Silverman, Stephanie J. (10 December). The bogus demonization of the ‘migrant caravan’. The Conversation; republished in The National Post on 11 December and Culturally Modified Magazine Issue #5 on 29 January.


Silverman, Stephanie J. (31 August). Losing the War in order to Win the Battle? Unraveling scholarship’s approach to the ‘Windrush scandal’ and immigration detention in the United Kingdom. CARFMS Blog.


Molnar, Petra and Stephanie J. Silverman (05 July). Opinion: Canada needs to get out of the immigration detention business. CBC News.


Silverman, Stephanie J. and Petra Molnar (15 April). How Canada’s immigration detention system spurs violence against women. The Conversation; republished in The National Post on 18 April.


Silverman, Stephanie J. and Amy Nethery (13 March). The shameful attempt to deport a man who’s been in Canada since childhood. The Conversation; republished in UofT News on 14 March, News 24 on 21 March.


Silverman, Stephanie J. (25 January). Electronically monitoring migrants treats them like criminals. The Conversation; republished in The National Post on 05 February.



Molnar, Petra and Stephanie J. Silverman (20 November). Another death in immigration detention: Canada is falling short of its human rights obligations. The Hill-Times; republished in The Toronto Star.


Silverman, Stephanie J. and Petra Molnar (14 November). Migrants are dying in detention centres: When will Canada act? The Conversation and Maclean’s Magazine.

Abji, Salina, Petra Molnar and Stephanie J. Silverman (22 June). Toronto Can Easily Do More For Non-Status Children, The Huffington Post Canada.



Silverman, Stephanie J. (19 November). Rejecting ‘Nationality Swapping’ and ‘Imposter-Children’ in Refugee Politics. The New West: The Western Political Science Association Blog.


Silverman, Stephanie J. (08 November). We Must Not Close the Doors to Spontaneously Arriving Asylum Seekers. Centre for International Policy Studies Blog.



Silverman, Stephanie J. (16 October). What Are ‘Hotspots’? The Inevitable Rise of Detention in the Quest for Asylum Solutions in the EU. Centre for International Policy Studies Blog.


Silverman, Stephanie J. (30 July). The Charter Strikes Back: A Step Forward for Refugee Rights in Canada. Centre for International Policy Studies Blog.


Silverman, Stephanie J. (15 April). UK immigration detention: What sort of reform, and when? The London School of Economics and Political Science British Politics and Policy Blog.



Silverman, Stephanie J. (July). Changes to the Canadian Immigration Detention System. Border Criminologies.



Arbel, Efrat, Julianna Beaudoin, and Stephanie J. (21 December). Why Is There No Refuge for Roma Refugees?, The Huffington Post.


Hyndman, Jennifer and Stephanie J. Silverman (11 May) Refugees are People, Too. The Huffington Post; republished as ‘Why Immigration Detention Harms People and Doesn’t Work’, Fahamu Refugee Legal Aid Newsletter June 2012

2017 - 2022:

International Advisor, International Detention Coalition

bottom of page