Undocumented migrants are not criminals. Detention is not prison. Deportation is not punishment. These are truths in the legal system of the United States. However, undocumented migrants are treated like criminals; detainees feel as if they are in prison; and deportees experience their exclusion as punishment. This article examines the contradictions between legal arguments which indicate that immigration proceedings are not criminal proceedings and the experiences of deportees who often feel as if they were treated like criminals and that banishment from the country in which they have lived most of their lives is a cruel punishment.