Migrants transiting through Macedonia

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Originally posted on Postcards from …:
Can anyone detect a human smuggler here? Will Cameron and Renzi’s solution be to bomb Macedonia’s railways network? Europe is building fences along its external land borders, Hungary has almost completed one along its border…

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The Home Office, Kafka and immigration policy

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Dr Miwa Hirono, University of Nottingham (photo: Academia.edu) Dr Miwa Hirono, University of Nottingham (photo: Academia.edu)

David Barrett on The Telegraph reports on the Japanese academic and UK Government’s foreign policy adviser who is forced to leave Britain because in 2009-2010 she had spent too much time overseas. Dr Miwa Hirono, originally from Japan, has been living in Nottingham for seven years since taking up a position at the University of Nottingham as RCUK research fellow. She has a one-year old boy and an Australian husband who quit his job to join her in the UK.

In whose interest is the Home Office acting forcing Dr Hirono to leave the UK? Certainly not the national one, many would argue, including the University of Nottingham that issued the following statement:

“The University of Nottingham is extremely disappointed that one of its most promising and talented academics, Dr Miwa Hirono, will be leaving the UK to take up a post overseas…

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An (Italian) undocumented migrant in New York

When an irregular migrant is just like me

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11-Matte-Painting-New-YorkWe are used to think of ‘illegal’ migrants as others from us, so if you are Italian and live in Italy the ‘clandestino’ is always imagined as a dark skinned, male and young person who travelled to Italy by a perilous journey on a rickety boat. More left-leaning Italians add to this image also the fact that the person may have been exploited, smuggled and vulnerable. No doubt, this is true for some, but there are many more routes into the country, more routes into ‘illegality’ and certainly different degrees of poverty, vulnerability and exploitation among undocumented migrants (see Sans Papiers).

Each country has a slightly different version of the quintessential ‘illegal’, and I say ‘slightly’ because a quick overview will easily point to a ‘preference’ for dark skinned and poor people for this casting role. But it is not a matter of ‘imagination’ only.

As I have pointed…

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Watch President Obama Immigration Speech

Obama Immigration Speech: Announcing Executive Ac…: http://youtu.be/wejt939QXko

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Whose sea? Mare Nostrum and the politics of migration in the Med

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By Nando Sigona, University of Birmingham

Cemetery of migrant boats in Capo Passero, Sicily. Photo by Nando Sigona Cemetery of migrant boats in Capo Passero, Sicily. Photo by Nando Sigona

Thirty lifeless bodies found in the bow of a fishing boat carrying 600 migrants off the coast of Sicily have reignited the debate on illegal crossings in the Mediterranean and how the EU should respond. The Italian navy is facing an unprecedented flow of migrants across the sea, with the number intercepted in first half of 2014 already outnumbering those of the past year and at levels seen in 2011 during the Arab Spring.

To offset the moral panic that pervades this debate, it would be useful for everyone involved to remember that the high number of interceptions is not per se an indicator of an increasing number of illegal crossings and even less and indication of the number of irregular migrants in the EU. While a correlation can’t be…

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Whose interests do we protect by refusing children asylum? Not ours, nor the children’s

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By Nando Sigona, University of Birmingham

In just a few days last week the #FightForYashika campaign managed to raise more than 178,000 signatures on a petition asking to the UK Home Office to reconsider the forced removal of 19-year-old Yashika Bageerathi, who was deported back to Mauritius to face the abuse and harassment from which she and her family had claimed asylum in Britain in 2011. In a poignant analysis of the case in The Observer newspaper, Catherine Bennett, explained the possible reasons behind the sympathetic coverage even in usually anti-immigration media outlets by this story, noting that it “nicely encapsulates a picky but popular approach to migrants: just a few exceptionally gifted singletons, please”.

She also noted that this approach has a darker side – namely the exclusion of many more young migrants who have, like Yashika, applied unsuccessfully for asylum in the UK when still underage…

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How the UK immigration apparatus killed a 84-year-old Canadian citizen

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He died in handcuffs while detained at a UK privately-run and publicly-funded  detention centre – an 84-year-old Canadian with Alzheimer’s. But who was the man behind the tragedy? Why a simple question like this never get answered? Why do we accept that immigrants are only talked about as numbers – who many are detained, who many are deported, who many ‘net migrants’ exist this quarter, who much they contribute or not to the economy, who much they (or we) cost to the UK welfare system.

Here you have an old engineer originally from Slovenia, who fought the Nazi occupation in Yugoslavia and moved to Canada after the war, an old widower who was travelling back to Slovenia to meet old relatives and, unfortunately for him, had to change plane at Gatwick, UK. He never made to Slovenia, Alois Dvorzac died at Harmondsworth immigration detention centre, and was not even…

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