Theme: Political Economy | Content Type: Journal article

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Small Boats, Big Contracts: Extracting Value from the UK's Post-Brexit Asylum ‘Crisis’

Lucy Mayblin, Thom Davies, Arshad Isakjee, Joe Turner and Tesfalem Yemane


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This article discusses post-Brexit asylum policy in the UK. On the surface, Brexit had little impact on asylum, but Brexit, combined with the new phenomenon of small boat Channel crossings, created the conditions for a new and extreme UK policy agenda. It explains how politicians have sought to deliver border sovereignty performatively after Brexit by introducing extreme measures, ostensibly—though not practically—to stop small boat Channel crossings, and how private actors have sought to profit from people seeking asylum within this policy regime. These interrelated political and financial interests are pursued irrespective of the fact that none of the policies being advanced will ‘stop the boats’.

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  • Lucy_3.jpg

    Lucy Mayblin

    Lucy Mayblin is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Sheffield.

    Articles by Lucy Mayblin
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    Thom Davies

    Thom Davies is Associate Professor in Geography at the University of Nottingham.

    Articles by Thom Davies
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    Arshad Isakjee

    Arshad Isakjee is Senior Lecturer in Geography at the University of Liverpool.

    Articles by Arshad Isakjee
  • Joe_Turner_Small.jpg

    Joe Turner

    Joe Turner is Senior Lecturer in International Politics at the University of York.

    Articles by Joe Turner
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    Tesfalem Yemane

    Tesfalem Yemane is Research Associate at the University of Liverpool. Together, they work on the ESRC-funded Channel Crossings project.

    Articles by Tesfalem Yemane