Go Home? The Politics of Immigration Controversies

June 29, 2017 — Review

Written by Samiha Begum

gohome-bookGo Home? The politics of Immigration Controversies brings together voices against and surrounding the government’s tougher stance on immigration.

We hear from community organisations, policy makers, migrants and citizens along with eight social researchers. As indicated by the title, this publication is in direct response to Operation Vaken in 2013, most associated with the Go Home vans that were driven through six of the most diverse boroughs in London, targeting illegal migration. We learn about how Operation Vaken demonstrated a toughness in immigration policy and the consequences for migrant communities in London. This book provides an extensive and thought provoking two-dimensional insight into the research undertaken going back and forth from detailed findings, data and analysis from their social research to then contributing thoughts on the role of critical migration research in society and the ethics considered.

According to Go Home…, Operation Vaken was a turning point in immigration policy and merits further exploration for two main reasons. Firstly, it marked a new ‘harsh, tougher and confrontational targeting of illegal migration’. Secondly, within this harsher stance, Operation Vaken demonstrated a shift in responsibility in tackling illegal migration- from official and qualified bodies to ordinary people.

Following on with performance politics, Go Home… explores the government’s logic towards immigration policy through a social research lens. Here, we are provided with a helpful insight into the formation of politics. Go Home… explains that issues like migration are often treated in the aggregate, meaning that statisticians and microeconomics tend to be the ultimate arbiters of good policy – however, emphasis on aggregate has lost legitimacy with migration issues, resulting in symbolic, emotional and elaborate policies implemented firstly to manage the Home Office’s reputation and secondly to reduce migration.

Go Home? The politics of Immigration Controversies is a thorough and informative publication which provides a distinctive insight into immigration policy and research debates. Operation Vaken should be considered a product of all that which has come before it, this research does well in outlining the current complexities of politics and immigration. Additionally, this book includes a complete snapshot of society with an engaging and pluralist commentary on the politics of immigration, allowing for meaningful and new conclusions to be made and new ideas to come to the forefront. Meanwhile, the book’s honest exploration of the role, limitations and challenges within social research when exploring issues such as immigration will engage other researchers to evaluate and improve techniques.

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The Institute of Race Relations is precluded from expressing a corporate view: any opinions expressed are therefore those of the authors.

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