Advertisement

Border (Mis)Management, Ignorance and Denial

Chapter
Part of the Critical Criminological Perspectives book series (CCRP)

Abstract

The escalations in deaths at Europe’s border in 2015 brought international focus on the failure of European leaders to respond logistically and humanely to an otherwise-silenced human disaster. Greece, Italy and Turkey faced significant criticism, particularly from Northern European states, for their failure to either prevent people from entering Europe or to prevent the loss of life at sea.

Although geographic spatial positioning was an obvious facilitator for their unrequested roles as both transient and host states, the financial and legislative outsourcing of border controls has been a more invisible contributor to the catastrophes that unfolded across Southern and indeed Eastern Europe. This chapter develops such a focus by using the UK’s response to the so-called refugee crisis as a case study. I argue that the longer-term expansions of stringent border controls, particularly since the 1990s, have been deliberately developed so that Britain is shielded from the realities of refugee influx, border deaths or crisis. This ‘orchestrated invisibility’ facilitates a sense of ignorance towards human suffering, which in turn allows the UK a sense of unknowing, even when it has become impossible not to know.

Overall, this chapter traces relevant legislation to external borders and buffer zones (Carr 2012) and simultaneously maps the role the UK, and specifically Britain, has played in the creation of crisis. Its role in conflict, arms trade and economic destabilisation has placed it on the peripheries at best and centrally at worst to many of the nations that refugees are fleeing from. Nonetheless, by feigning ignorance and exercising collective denial (Cohen 2001) through socio-spatial distance, the UK has failed to respond humanely to a catastrophe, aspects of which it is, at least in part, responsible for.

Keywords

Borders Zemiology Structural violence Refugees State crimes European Union 

References

  1. Aas, K., & Bosworth, M. (2013). The Borders of Punishment: Migration, Citizenship and Social Exclusion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Addley, E., & Pidd, H. (2016, May 27). Scotland Has Taken in More than a Third of all UK’s Syrian Refugees. The Guardian.Google Scholar
  3. Aliverti, A. (2012). Making People Criminal: the Role of the Criminal Law in Immigration Enforcement. Theoretical Criminology, 16(4), 417–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Aliverti, A. (2015). Criminal Immigration Law and Human Rights in Europe. In S. Pickering & J. Ham (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook on Crime and International Migration. Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Amnesty International. (2016). Refugees Are in Urgent Need of Protection from Sexual and Gender-Based Violence. Available at https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2016/11/refugees-are-in-urgent-need-of-protection-fromsexual-and-gender-based-violence/. Accessed 01 Aug 2018.
  6. Andersson, R. (2014). Illegality INC.: Clandestine Migration and the Business of Bordering Europe. California: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  7. Asylum Aid. (2011). Unsustainable: The Quality of Initial Decision Making in Women’s Asylum Claims. London: Asylum Aid.Google Scholar
  8. Asylum and Immigration Act 2004. Available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/19/section/4. Last Accessed 08 June 2017.
  9. BBC. (2015). David Cameron Criticised Over Migrant ‘Swarm’ Language. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-33716501. Last Accessed 08 June 2017.
  10. BBC. (2016). Theresa May Urges Global Measures to Tackle ‘Uncontrolled Migration. Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37405598. Last Accessed 05 June 2017.
  11. Berry, M., Garcia-Blanco, I., & Moore, K. (2015). Press Coverage of the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in the EU: A Content Analysis of Five European Countries. UNHCR. Available at http://www.unhcr.org/56bb369c9.pdf. Last Accessed 05 June 2017.
  12. Blinder, S. (2015). Migration to the UK: Asylum. The Migration Observatory. Available at http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/resources/briefings/migration-to-the-uk-asylum/. Last Accessed 04 June 2017.
  13. Blinder, S., & Betts, A. (2016). Deportations, Removals and Voluntary Departures from the UK. The Migration Observatory. Last Accessed 04 June 2017.Google Scholar
  14. Blinder, S., & McNeil, R. (2016). Migration to the UK: Asylum. The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford. Available at http://migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/briefings/migration-uk-asylum. Accessed 01 Aug 2018.
  15. Bloch, A., & Schuster, L. (2002). Asylum and Welfare: Contemporary Debates. Critical Social Policy, 22(3), 393–414.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Bloch, A., & Schuster, L. (2005). Asylum Policy Under New Labour. Benefits, 13(2), 115–118.Google Scholar
  17. Bögner, D., Brewin, C., & Herlihy, J. (2010). Refugees’ Experiences of Home Office Interviews: A Qualitative Study on the Disclosure of Sensitive Personal Information. Journal of Ethnic Migration Studies, 36(3), 519–535.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Bosworth, M., & Turnbull, S. (2015). Immigration Detention and the Expansion of Penal Power in the UK. In K. Reiter & A. Koenig (Eds.), Extreme Punishment: Comparative Studies in Detention, Incarceration and Solitary Confinement (pp. 50–67). London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Burnett, J. (2016). Racial Violence and the Brexit State. London: Institute of Race Relations.Google Scholar
  20. Burnett, J. (2017). Austerity and the Production of Hate. In V. Cooper & D. Whyte (Eds.), The Violence of Austerity. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  21. Canning, V. (2014). International Conflict, Sexual Violence and Asylum Policy: Merseyside as a Case Study. Critical Social Policy, 34(1), 23–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Canning, V. (2016). Unsilencing Sexual Torture: Responses to Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Denmark. British Journal of Criminology, 56(3), 438–456.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Canning, V. (2017). Gendered Harm and Structural Violence in the British Asylum System. Oxon: Routledge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Canning, V., & Bhatia, M. (2016). Immigration Detention: What’s the Problem with Privatisation? Society Matters. Available at http://www.open.edu/openlearn/people-politics-law/immigration-detention-whats-the-problem-privatisation. Last Accessed 14 June 2016.
  25. Carr, M. (2012). Fortress Europe: Inside the War Against Immigration. London: Hurst and Co.Google Scholar
  26. Cohen, S. (2001). States of Denial. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  27. Corporate Watch. (2016). Home Office Quietly Advertises £80 Million Privatisation of Calais Border Security. Available at https://corporatewatch.org/news/2016/sep/13/home-office-quietly-advertises-%C2%A380-million-privatisation-calais-border-security. Last Accessed 06 June 2017.
  28. Crawley, H. (2010). Chance or Choice? Understanding Why Refugees Come to the UK. Swansea: Refugee Council and Swansea University.Google Scholar
  29. Doward, J. (2016, May 28). UK Weapons Sales to Oppressive Regimes top £3bn a Year. The Guardian. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/may/28/uk-weapons-sold-countries-poor-human-rights-saudi-arabia. Last Accessed 08 June 2017.
  30. Fekete, L. (2005). The Deportation Machine: Europe, Asylum and Human Rights. Race and Class, 47(1), 64–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Girma, M., & Lousley, G. (2017). The Way Ahead: An Asylum System without Detention. London: Women for Refugee Women.Google Scholar
  32. Green, P., & Ward, T. (2009). The Transformation of Violence in Iraq. British Journal of Criminology, 49(5), 609–627.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hasselberg, I. (2016). Enduring Uncertainty: Deportation, Punishment and Everyday Life. New York: Berghahn Books.Google Scholar
  34. Herlihy, J., & Turner, S. (2006). Should Decrepit Accounts Given By Asylum Seekers Be Taken as Proof of Deceit? Torture, 16(2), 81–92.Google Scholar
  35. Huffington Post. (2016). Jeremy Corbyn’s 2003 Anti-Iraq War Speech Reminds Us Where Labour Leader Has Always Stood. Available at http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/jeremy-corbyn-2003-anti-iraq-war-speech-labour-leader-ahead-of-his-time_uk_577bbbe8e4b0f7b55795fa0a. Last Accessed 02 June 2017.
  36. Immigration Act 2014. Available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2014/22/contents/enacted. Last Accessed 23 June 2016.
  37. Immigration Act 2016. Available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2016/19/contents/enacted. Last Accessed 23 June 2016.
  38. Immigration (Carriers’ Liability) Act 1987. Available at https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/chapter-33-immigration-carriers-liability-act-1987-immigration-directorate-instructions. Last Accessed 08 June 2017.
  39. Immigration and Asylum Act 1999. Available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1999/33/pdfs/ukpga_19990033_en.pdf. Last Accessed 08 June 2017.
  40. Infantino, F. (2015). Outsourcing Border Control: Politics and Practice of Outsourcing Visa Control in Morocco. New York: Palgrave Pivot.Google Scholar
  41. International Organization for Migration. (2017). Migrant Fatalities Worldwide. Available at https://missingmigrants.iom.int/latest-global-figures. Last Accessed 31 May 2017.
  42. Kelly, T. (2012). This Side of Silence: Human Rights, Torture, and the Recognition of Cruelty. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Maupin, A. (2010). Mary Ann in Autumn. London: Transworld Publishers.Google Scholar
  44. Michalowski, R. (2013). The Master’s Tools: Can Supranational Law Confront Crimes of Powerful States? In E. Stanley & J. McCulloch (Eds.), State Crime and Resistance. Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  45. Muttitt, G., & Whyte, D. (2016, July 11). Tony Blair Could Face Prosecution Yet: Focus on Oil and Follow the Money. The Guardian.Google Scholar
  46. Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002. Available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2002/41/contents. Last Accessed 08 June 2017.
  47. Osley, R. (2015 October 24). Tony Blair Apologises for ‘Mistakes’ Over Iraq War and Admits ‘Elements of Truth’ to View that Invasion Helped Rise of Isis. The Independent.Google Scholar
  48. Prime Minister’s Office. (2016). PM Announces UK Deployment for NATO Mission in Aegean Sea to Tackle Migrant Crisis. Available at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/pm-announces-uk-deployment-for-nato-mission-in-aegean-sea-to-tackle-migrant-crisis. Last Accessed 16 May 2016.
  49. Proctor, R. N. (2008). Agnotology: A Missing Term to Describe the Cultural Production of Ignorance (and Its Study). In R. N. Proctor & L. Schiebinger (Eds.), Agnotology: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance (pp. 1–37). Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  50. Refugee Council. (2017). The UK Asylum System. Available at https://www.refugeecouncil.org.uk/policy_research/the_truth_about_asylum/facts_about_asylum_-_page_5. Last Accessed 08 June 2017.
  51. Reuters. (2016). Britain Will Not Join a Common EU Asylum System: Cameron. Reuters. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-migrants-cameron-idUSKCN0W9184. Last Accessed 08 June 2017.
  52. Right to Remain. (2017). Toolkit. Available at http://righttoremain.org.uk/toolkit/index.html. Last Accessed 08 June 2017.
  53. Sengupta, K. (2013). Blood Money: UK’s £12.3bn Arms Sales to Repressive States. The Independent. Available at http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/blood-money-uk-s-123bn-arms-sales-to-repressive-states-8711794.html. Last Accessed 05 June 2017.
  54. Shackle, S. (2015). The Brutal and Devastating Reality Faced by the Women at Calais. Asylum Aid. Available at http://www.asylumaid.org.uk/the-brutal-and-devastating-hardship-faced-by-the-women-at-calais/. Last Accessed 06 June 2017.
  55. Silverman, S. (2017). Immigration Detention in the UK. Available at http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/resources/briefings/immigration-detention-in-the-uk/. Last Accessed 08 June 2017.
  56. Smithson, M. (2008). Social Theories of Ignorance. In R. N. Proctor & L. Schiebinger (Eds.), Agnotology: The Making and Unmaking of Ignorance (pp. 209–230). Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  57. Taylor, D. (2017). Home Office Eritrea Guidance Softened to Reduce Asylum Seeker Numbers. The Guardian. Available at https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/jan/22/home-office-eritrea-guidance-softened-to-reduce-asylum-seeker-numbers. Last Accessed 06 June 2017.
  58. The Iraq Inquiry. (2016). The Chilcot Report. Available at http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/the-report/. Last Accessed 29 July 2016.
  59. Townsend, M. (2017). Women and Children ‘Endure Rape, Beatings and Abuse’ Inside Dunkirk’s Refugee Camp. The Guardian. Available at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/feb/12/dunkirkchild-refugees-risk-sexual-violence. Accessed 01 Aug 2018.
  60. Travis, A. (2014). UK Axes Support for Mediterranean Migrant Rescue Operation. The Guardian. Available at https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/oct/27/uk-mediterranean-migrant-rescue-plan. Accessed 01 Aug 2018.
  61. Tyler, I. (2006). ‘Welcome to Britain’: The Cultural Politics of Asylum. European Journal of Cultural Studies, 9, 185–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Tyler, I. (2013). Revolting Subjects: Social Abjection and Resistance in Neoliberal Britain. London: Zed Books.Google Scholar
  63. Waugh, P. (2016). Anger as Tory MPs Vote Down Plan to Take 3000 Child Refugees from Europe. Huffington Post. Available at http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/child-refugees-plan-defeated-by-tory-mps_uk_571e7e1ce4b0d6f7bed4c815. Last Accessed 16 May 2016.
  64. Webber, F. (2012). Borderline Justice: The Fight for Refugee and Migrant Rights. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  65. Webber, F. (2016). The UK Government’s Inversion of Accountability. Open Democracy. Available at https://www.opendemocracy.net/uk/shinealight/frances-webber/uk-government-s-inversion-of-accountability. Last Accessed 01 June 2016.
  66. Weber, L., & Pickering, S. (2011). Globalisation and Borders: Death at the Global Frontier. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Whyte, D. (2007). The Crimes of Neoliberal Rule in Occupied Iraq. British Journal of Criminology, 47(2), 177–195.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Whyte, D. (2015). How Corrupt Is Britain. London: Pluto Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Arts and SciencesThe Open UniversityMilton KeynesUK

Personalised recommendations