Hostile Environment: How Immigrants Became Scapegoats

Goodfellow, Maya


While refugees risked their lives crossing the Mediterranean, the UK government introduced immigration policy after immigration policy aimed at creating what it proudly called a ‘hostile environment’. Alongside this, the British people voted to leave the EU while politicians from all parties unashamedly blamed immigrants for all the country’s ills. Study after study has confirmed that immigration has not damaged the UK’s economy, nor put a strain on its public services, yet concerns about immigration continue to be deemed ‘legitimate’ across the political spectrum, with few exceptions. How did we get here? Maya Goodfellow offers a compelling answer. Through interviews with policy experts, politicians, immigration lawyers, and migrants themselves, Goodfellow exposes the dark underbelly of contemporary immigration policies and the damage done by our obsession with borders.

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How migrants became the scapegoats of contemporary mainstream politics

From the 1960s the UK’s immigration policy-introduced by both Labour and Tory governments-has been a toxic combination of racism and xenophobia. Maya Goodfellow tracks this history through to the present day, looking at both legislation and rhetoric, to show that distinct forms of racism and dehumanisation have produced a confused and draconian immigration system. She examines the arguments made against immigration in order to dismantle and challenge them. Through interviews with people trying to navigate the system, legal experts, politicians and campaigners, Goodfellow shows the devastating human costs of anti-immigration politics and argues for an alternative.

The new edition includes an additional chapter, which explores the impacts of the 2019 election and the ongoing immigration enforcement during the coronavirus pandemic.

Longlisted for the 2019 Jhalak Prize

Additional information

Weight 0.261 kg
Dimensions 19.8 × 13 × 2.1 cm










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