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The story of how British citizenship developed and why this matters for questions of race, migration and belonging in 'Global Britain'

Hosted and produced by Michaela Benson.

Cover Art: George Kalivis

Production and post-production: Art of Podcast 

Jul 8, 2022

In May 2012 Home Secretary Theresa May vowed to create ‘a really hostile environment for illegal migrants’, heralding in a set of policies which require landlords, employers, healthcare workers and others to check people’s immigration documents, which creates a barrier to accessing work, housing, healthcare, banking and other services. Most of these measures were introduced through the Immigration Act 2014 and expanded in the Immigration Act 2016. But what has been the impact of the decade-long political project to make the UK ‘tough on immigration’? 

In this episode Michaela Benson and Ala Sirriyeh are joined by Zrinka Bralo, CEO Migrants Organise. From a starting point of recent headlines focussed on 10 years of the Hostile Environment, they discuss how this made visible structural racism within the UK, brought borders into the everyday lives of migrants, and how it has become normalised, working insidiously through the language used to talk about migration. From the Rwanda plan and channel crossing pushbacks, to the public welcome of little Amal and outpouring of charity around Grenfell, Zrinka calls for migrant justice and the need to build bridges not walls.

You can access the full transcripts for each episode over on the Rebordering Britain and Britons after Brexit website.

In this episode we cover …

  1. The Hostile Environment
  2. Everyday bordering
  3. Migrant justice


What happens to immigrants is just a dress rehearsal to what happens to all of us. And if we're not awake, and alert and acting, the human rights are going to be taken and taken away from us, and we're not going to be paying attention.

— Zrinka Bralo

Where can you find out more about the topics in today’s episode?


Find Zrinka on Twitter at migrants organise an award winning grassroots migrant justice platform or in this article on ‘Little Amal, Channel deaths and cruelty by design’

For more about the hostile environment:

Our headline ‘Home Office still has no evidence to show hostile environment policy is working, report finds’ by May Bulman was published in The Independent 17 June 2020

Find more from Michaela on the Windrush Deportation Scandal in this episode of Who do we think we are?

To discover more about the concept of everyday bordering we suggest this article by Nira Yuval-Davis, Georgie Wemyss and Kathryn Cassidy.

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