Open Borders

Open Borders : The Case Against Immigration Controls

4.06 (16 ratings by Goodreads)
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'A very impressive achievement.' Ann Dummett, founder, Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants

'Teresa Hayter has written a formidably comprehensive book on the history, mechanisms, and debates surrounding immigration controls in Britain ... The crux of Hayter's argument is that immigration controls do not, will not, and should not work ... essential reading.' Red Pepper

In Open Borders, Teresa Hayter assesses the impact of the increasing severity of border controls since they were first introduced and makes the controversial case for their abolition. Hayter focuses on postwar immigration controls, especially the use of such controls against the peoples of former European colonies and East Europeans, and their effects on asylum seekers. She examines the recent history of European coordination of border controls and the notion of `Fortress Europe'.

Hayter argues that the existence of controls leads to great suffering and abuse of human rights, and that immigration controls are racist and help legitimate racism. She also demonstrates that immigration controls have actually had a limited impact on controlling numbers. To illustrate her arguments, she draws on empirical material, especially from Britain in the 1980s and 1990s, relating in particular to the use of detention, arbitrary decision-making and the denial of benefits. She compares British government policies with policies elsewhere in Europe and calls for the free movement of people and the abolition of border controls.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 135 x 215mm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 0745315429
  • 9780745315423

Table of contents



1. Migration, And Migratory Myths

World Migration

Postwar Migration To Industrialised Countries

Migration To Britain

2. Border Controls


Early History Of British Immigration Controls

Controls On Commonwealth Immigration

Fortress Europe

3. Refugees: Tightening The Screw

The Debasing Of Refugee Rights

Legislation And Legal Processes In Britain

The Criminalisation Of Refugees



Campsfield Immigration Detention Centre

4. Resistance

Resistance In Britain

The Sans Papiers Movement

Resistance In Other European Countries

5. Open The Borders

Immigration Controls And Human Rights

Immigration Controls Do Not Work

Immigration And Jobs, Wages And Conditions

Immigration And Public Expenditure

Immigration Controls And Racism

Migration And The Third World

Free Movement


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Review quote

"The strongest part of this book is the account of the hypocrisy, faithlessness, demagogy, moral indifference and, at times, outright cruelty shown by different British Governments on this issue since the 1960's. Ms Hayter provides a terrible indictment of modern British immigration policy. Government seem keener to appeal to the ineradicable British vice, xenophobia, than to the ineradicable British virtue, a sense of fair play. The sad story of hostility to immigrants points to the conclusion: democracy is no guarantee of humanity - or good sense." -- The Economist
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About Teresa Hayter

Teresa Hayter is an activist and writer who in recent years has been active in a variety of anti-racist campaigns and organisations opposed to the injustices of detention without trial of migrants and refugees. She is the author of Open Borders (Pluto Press, 2004).
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Rating details

16 ratings
4.06 out of 5 stars
5 25% (4)
4 62% (10)
3 6% (1)
2 6% (1)
1 0% (0)
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