Border Control and Undesirables in Britain and Australia

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‘Undesirables’ explores the various border control practices employed against migrant communities that have been branded as undesirable by the authorities, including exclusion, deportation, monitoring and detention. The contemporary approaches to undesirable migrant groups have deep historical connections. This special issue offers evidence that current policy and practices are products of a long-term historical recourse. This proposed issue explores how certain migrant groups (on the grounds of race, gender, ethnicity, political ideology, and perceived criminality) were identified as ‘undesirable’ by the authorities of the state and subjected to various border and policing practices. This often involved the exclusion of ‘undesirable’ migrants at the border or the deportation of individuals if found to be ‘undesirable’, but also included the surveillance, arrest and detention of undesirables from migrant groups by police and intelligence agencies once they had settled in the destination country. This special issue shows that border control practices extended far beyond the physical border and that as well as using border practices to reject or expel ‘undesirable’ migrants, the state highly monitored those ‘undesirable’ migrants who had been allowed to enter the country. This builds on Paddy Hillyard’s (1993) theory of the ‘suspect community’, which described the heavy policing of the Irish community in Britain during the 1970s-80s. While some studies have looked at how some community groups have replaced others in the contemporary government’s security agenda (Pantazis and Pemberton 2009), this special issue showcases that the ‘undesirability’ concept has historical origin that still influences current approaches to policies, hence it warrants a more comprehensive investigation and reflection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalImmigrants and Minorities
Issue number1-2
Early online date29 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • immigration
  • border control
  • Britain
  • Australia
  • Immigration
  • Border Control


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