Theresa May, statelessness and Hannah Arendt

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photo credit: luiginter via photopin cc photo credit: luiginter via photopincc

The UK Secretary of State Theresa May’s call for new powers to strip citizenship from individuals who are deemed a threat to public order is now formalised in the Immigration Bill. Many have argued against this further erosion of Britons’ right to citizenship. In an excellent opinion piece in The Guardian (see also one on The Conversation),  noted that ‘during the dark days of the second world war, when Britain was in mortal danger, only four people were stripped of citizenship. Theresa May has denaturalised more than four times that number of in the last three years alone’. With the new Bill coming into force we can only expect even more British citizens to be consigned to the condition of statelessness. The relatively small number should not disguise the political significance of this move. The following passage from Chapter 9 of Hannah Arendt’s

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Our job is to be educators, not border guards

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[Published in The Independent on 24 October]

UKBAWe write as academics concerned with the way in which the rhetoric over security is undermining the university as a place of learning and open discussion (“Is this really necessary? Universities introduce fingerprinting for international students”, 21 October).

The latest move by the universities of Sunderland and Ulster, singling out international students to give fingerprints to prove their attendance at lectures, is reprehensible and to be condemned in the strongest terms.

As academics, we have a duty of care towards all our students, and such policies undermine that relationship. We call on the universities of Sunderland and Ulster to withdraw the use of this system, and for all other universities to take seriously their commitment to equitable treatment of all their students.

We also call on the Government to stop putting pressure on universities to enact such immigration policies. This damages…

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On the Europeanization of Lampedusa and similar tragedies

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The death of migrants in the Mediterranean is a truly ‘European’ tragedy

[Article for LSE EUROPP Blog, 14 Oct 2013]

Over 300 migrants travelling from Libya to Italy died on 3 October when the boat they were travelling in caught fire and sank in the Mediterranean. I argue that efforts to prevent further disasters taking place must focus on the reasons why migrants choose to risk their lives by travelling to Europe. The EU has not taken on its fair share of asylum seekers in comparison to developing countries in Africa and the Middle East, and opening up safe and legal pathways to apply for asylum should be a key priority. Finally, I argue that the Europeanization of Lampedusa is a strategic asset for the EU Commission at a time when the EU legitimacy is under unprecedented attack in many EU member states. It is up to the EU…

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On the diversity turn, publication announcement

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The special issue of Identities. Global Studies in Power and Culture on ‘Ethnography, diversity and urban space‘ that I  edited with Mette L. Berg and Ben Gidley (University of Oxford) is out. Below an edited and substantially abridged version of the introductory essay I wrote with Mette L. Berg. Full version available here

By Mette Louise Berg and Nando Sigona

The demise of multiculturalism as a public policy, and as a political discourse in several European countries, including Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, began over a decade ago in the wake of the 9/11 attacks in New York and the subsequent so-called war on terror. The multiculturalism backlash that ensued effectively left European immigration countries that are de facto multicultural – in terms of languages spoken, religions practiced, ethnicity, etc. – without an explicit policy for dealing with this fact. Meanwhile, in scholarly discourse, ‘multiculturalism’ as…

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Healthcare of undocumented migrant children

Timely analysis on the impact of access to healthcare on children in undocumented families while the government is considering ways to make access even more difficult

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[Article published in the Runnymede  Bulletin Spring 2013]

 Nando Sigona analyses the predicament of undocumented migrants and the way the uncertainty and stress of the family struggle, as well as restricted access to healthcare services, impact the mental and physical well-being of the children.

Meeting the health needs of a growing and super-diverse, foreign-born population in the UK is a challenge for health services. However, these needs are currently only partially acknowledged and addressed.

Government policy has focused largely on addressing ethnic inequality in health, leaving aside other factors that may have an impact on migrants’ health needs and experiences of the healthcare system, such as country of birth, language, length of residence in the UK and immigration status. The Confidential Enquiry into Maternal and Child Health is a case in point. While it showed that about 20 per cent of deaths directly or indirectly related to pregnancy occur in women with poor or no antenatal care, it failed to consider that one of the main deterrents to access maternity care may…

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When maternity doesn’t matter

This excellent video offers an overview of the findings of the recently completed joint research project carried out by the Refugee Council and Maternity Action on the experience of maternity among asylum seeking mothers. Dowload the full report.

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ho_valentineTo ‘celebrate’ Valentine’s Day the UK Home Office is publishing on Twitter/Flickr a stream of archive pictures and videos  of sham brides and grooms arrested in UKBA operations. Repeating a ‘name & shame’ communication strategy used already to mark the arrest of a number of visa overstayers last summer (see my comment on the Mayapple Operation), Thresa May’s Home Office offers yet another proof of its ‘zero tolerance’ approach to unlawful immigration – no matter that it is its own continuous moving of the goalposts that is making many migrants unlawfully resident. This use of social media is rather disconcerting, especially because it show very little care for the pains the Home Office is inflicting on thousands of couples and families torn apart by immigration rules, pains that can hardly justify the discovery of a handful of ‘genuine’ sham marriages (you can read my comment on the family rules here).

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