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3 - The Invention of Illegal Immigration

Constructing ‘Clandestine’ Immigrants in France and the UK

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 November 2023

Christina Boswell
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
Emile Chabal
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
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Summary

This chapter charts how irregular migration was first identified in France and the UK as a social problem requiring state intervention. Building on theories of information processing, it explores the filters through which each government scanned their political and operational environment to identify and frame the issue. In the UK, a political preoccupation with limiting overall numbers of Commonwealth migrants led to measures to penalise ‘evasion of control’ in the late 1960s. In France, concerns about 'clandestine work' prompted a focus on irregular labour in 1970s, which built on earlier security priorities tied to the Algerian War. By locating the emergence of the issue in historical and cross-national context, our analysis highlights the contingent and selective nature of state knowledge production about irregular migration.

Type
Chapter
Information
States of Ignorance
Governing Irregular Migrants in Western Europe
, pp. 91 - 116
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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