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Deportation Nation: Theresa May's Hostile Environment

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

Article number0
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/05/2018
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal for the Study of British Cultures
Issue number1
Number of pages15
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This article begins with the highly-publicised appearance of the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, and his (then) Home Secretary Theresa May, at the scene of an immigration raid in Slough in 2014. Employing this event as a point of entry, this article examines a British Government initiative designed to create what May described in a speech to Parliament in 2012 as "a really hostile environment for illegal migrants in Britain". It considers the subsequent implementation of this hostile environment and the intensification of deportation as a technology of government which it involved. It also examines how this politics of deportability came to characterise the 2015 Brexit campaign and the racist violence which followed in its wake. It argues that the "production of deportability" has been the defining feature of Theresa May's tenure as Home Secretary (2010-2016) and Prime-Minister (2016-current) (De Genova & Peutz 2010: 17). It concludes by considering migrant deportability, and associated forms of citizen disposability, as central components of late neoliberal forms of state power. It is the argument of this article that thinking with and through deportation can further our understanding of the relationship between the increasing precarity of migrant lives and the current intensification of ‘legalised expulsions’ “at home” (Walters, 2002).