Irregular Migration
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Irregular Migration

The Dilemmas of Transnational Mobility

Bill Jordan and Franck Düvell

Irregular Migration is an extremely timely and topical book, analysing the fundamental tensions at the core of present attempts to manage the movement of population in today’s world. Recent events around the globe have prompted a reappraisal of the emerging consensus on migration control.
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Chapter 7: Internal Controls and Enforcement: Immigration Authorities and the Police

The Dilemmas of Transnational Mobility

Bill Jordan and Franck Düvell


Border checks and internal controls reflect states’ fears about the potential ill effects of irregular migration. However, as we saw in Part II, irregular migrants who did undocumented work in London were readily accepted by employers, and lived largely without friction among the wider population. In this part of the book, we turn to the responses of the official agencies of the state, and consider how the UK in particular dealt with the issues raised by irregular migration. In this chapter we look at internal enforcement practices. Our research was conducted at a time of transition in immigration policy, both in the UK and in the European Union (EU). Between 1970 and 2000 immigration policy in the UK responded primarily to considerations of ‘race’, restricting immigration from the New Commonwealth countries, on the grounds that this was necessary for ‘good race relations’ and ‘racial equality’. This argument was still used up to 1998, as a justification for ‘fair, fast and firm immigration control’, especially in relation to asylum claims (Home Office, 1998, para 2.3). From 2000 economic considerations became far more significant, as was signalled by ministerial speeches and Home Office reports (see pp. 79–80). Not only was recruitment abroad expanded (see Chapter 9), but other forms of migration came to be assessed from the standpoint of their potential economic advantages. This change was not easy for the Home Office Immigration and Nationality Directorate to handle, because it was in crisis over...

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