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One of the prevailing myths of the debased public debate on immigration and asylum is the notion that the UK has become a ‘soft touch’ for migrants seeking to take advantage of British generosity by unfairly accessing benefits or ‘abusing’ the asylum system.
Frances Webber gives a very different perspective. Until her retirement in 2008, Webber was an immigration and human rights barrister, and Borderline Justice is the distillation of nearly three decades experience representing migrants and refugees in the UK courts. The result is an illuminating and disturbing insight into the dire consequences of the legal ‘paper walls’ that successive governments have erected to ‘protect our borders’.
Webber exposes in painstaking detail the often vindictive and punitive treatment of refugees and asylum seekers by the Home Office, and the bureaucratic hurdles that men and women fleeing violence and persecution must circumvent to remain in the UK.
Among the most useful aspects of Webber’s book are its chalk-face insights into the way that immigration courts work, many of which draw on cases that she herself has fought or lost. She describes the ways the Home Office moves the legal goalposts in order to reject asylum claims, and the often racist assumptions that underpin the prevailing ‘culture of disbelief’ in the UK asylum system.
For Webber, these battles in the courts are part of an ongoing struggle for ‘marginal justice, justice which constantly disappears and constantly has to be fought for’.
This is not a notion that is likely to get much traction in the mainstream media. But for those who want to know what the UK ‘soft touch’ really means, and wish to challenge the lies and myths that are routinely peddled by politicians and the right-wing press, this short, densely packed book is an indispensable tool.
Grace Blakeley investigates the curious case of Carillion: how the company’s slow decline and abrupt liquidation reveals the nature of modern capitalism.
The collapse of Carillion could be a watershed moment. Let's seize it to end economically disastrous outsourcing schemes. By Cat Hobbs.
Campaign groups highlight UK complicity in Saudi Arabia's human rights abuses.
Three founders of Momentum talk to Ashish Ghadiali about the two years that have transformed their lives and the fortunes of the British left.
Andrew Smith from Campaign Against the Arms Trade gives the run-down on one of the UK's most profitable - and most deadly - industries.
The real story behind the fire in Grande Synthe’s Linière refugee camp, Dunkirk. From 'Bordered Lives – How Europe fails refugees and migrants' by Hsiao-Hung Pai
Javier Pérez De La Cruz writes about the working class Berlin neighbourhood wrung dry by gentrifiers.
Across the world, thousands of protesters are taking on the planet’s biggest fossil fuel companies. We should support them – and if we can, we should join them. By Kara Moses
Students are suffering the effects of financial instability, stress, and slashed mental health services. Mark Crawford reports.
They're not defending free speech - they're just seeking to shore up their own power, writes Ilyas Nagdee
Jeremy Hunt is poised to flog the last of the NHS
Peter Roderick sounds the alarm on an 'attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS'.
Viva Siva, 1923-2018
A. Sivanandan, who died this week, was a hugely important figure in the politics of race and class. As part of our tributes, Red Pepper is republishing this 2009 profile of him by Arun Kundnani
Sivanandan: When memory forgets a giant
Daniel Renwick calls for the whole movement to discover and remember the vital work of A. Sivanandan, who died this week
A master-work of graphic satire
American Jewish cartoonist Eli Valley’s comic commentary on America, the US Jewish diaspora and Israel is nothing if not near the knuckle, Richard Kuper writes
Meet the frontline activists facing down the global mining industry
Activists are defending land, life and water from the global mining industry. Tatiana Garavito, Sebastian Ordoñez and Hannibal Rhoades investigate.
Transition or succession? Zimbabwe’s future looks uncertain
The fall of Mugabe doesn't necessarily spell freedom for the people of Zimbabwe, writes Farai Maguwu
Don’t let Corbyn’s opponents sneak onto the Labour NEC
Labour’s powerful governing body is being targeted by forces that still want to strangle Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, writes Alex Nunns