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The Politics of Irregular Migration, Human Trafficking and People Smuggling in the United Kingdom

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Chapter Summary

Irregular migration flows rose to prominence in the UK towards the end of the 1990 with notorious and tragic incidents as migrants died either trying to enter the UK or while working in the UK. This chapter argues that responses to irregular migration draw from a repertoire of contentious immigration politics. It explores the ways in which longer-term patterning of migration politics and policy have continued to shape the ways in which migration to the UK is understood. The chapter analyses the salience of irregular migration flows, the links made to people smuggling and human trafficking networks particularly through media coverage of irregular migration, and then develops its argument about the longer-term historical patterning of responses to irregular migration, such as the ways in which irregular migration is related to the longer-term race relations framework that has structured UK migration policy and politics since the 1960s.

Keywords: human trafficking; immigration politics; irregular migration; smuggling; United Kingdom migration policy



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