Chronicle of a Crisis Foretold: The politics of irregular migration, human trafficking and people smuggling in the UK

This article argues that a distinct repertoire of social and political contention associated with migration

and the presence of immigrants in the UK plays a large part in structuring responses to ostensibly

‘new’ migration challenges such as people smuggling and human trafficking. This repertoire

includes the elision and confusion of migration categories (particularly in this instance between

irregular migration and asylum); the impact of state policies on the creation of ‘unwanted’ migration

flows; fears of floods and invasions by ‘unwanted’ migrants; concerns that the state is losing

control of migration; the depiction of migration and migrants as causes of increased support for

the extreme right; the existence of labour market pull factors that provide economic spaces for both

regular and irregular migrants; the symbolic power but limited effect of an international human

rights regime and discourse; and problems of policy implementation. The contemporary twist is

provided by the links made between irregular migration and the ‘war on terror’ and the ways in

which migration has become a component of bilateral relations between the UK and other states,

particularly those structured by EU competencies.

<< Back