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Border Vigils: Keeping Migrants Out of the Rich World

Searing reportage and analysis of the new politics of immigration in both Europe and America.

Ours is an era marked by extraordinary human migrations, with some 200 million people alive today having moved from their country of origin. The political reaction in Europe and the United States has been to raise the drawbridge: immigrant workers are needed, but no longer welcome. So migrants die in trucks or drown en route; they are murdered in smuggling operations or ruthlessly exploited in illegal businesses that make it impossible for the abused to seek police help. More than 15,000 people have died in the last twenty years trying to circumvent European entry restrictions.

In this beautifully written book, Jeremy Harding draws haunting portraits of the migrants – and anti-immigrant zealots – he encountered in his investigations in Europe and on the US–Mexico border. Harding's painstaking research and global perspective identify the common characteristics of immigration policy across the rich world and raise pressing questions about the future of national boundaries and universal values.

Reviews

  • “[A] tightly-coiled, unpredictable book... Harding makes his ambitious, continent-crossing arguments in economical, sometimes elegant, usually understated prose.”
  • “Beyond its investigative insight, Border Vigils is also a groundbreaking chronicle of migrant voices rarely heard. Ranging from the southern shores of Italy and the backstreets of England to the embattled US–Mexico front line, Harding’s brilliant work could not be more timely – and timeless.”
  • “...offering a sympathetic portrait of disadvantaged migrants that highlights the ways in which their needs are so often ignored even as their plights were largely created by the very rich countries that they wish to enter.”

Blog

  • Jungle Books: Calais migrant camp's newly opened library needs books!

    Verso London is sending books to Jungle Books (or Livres de la jungle in French), the makeshift library at the Calais migrant camp known as the Jungle. Mary Jones, who set up the library, wants to add more books in the native languages of the migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, and hopes that eventually, the camp inhabitants will run the library. Besides stocking around 200 books, the Guardian reports, “the library supports a school that offers classes to the refugees and asylum seekers that live in the camp.”

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  • In Ventimiglia, an un-sovereign state erects its borders

    'The more the state is disarmed, the more it has to show off its voluntarism'. The illegitimate and illegal French blockade at the Italian border reveals the anxiety of a Europe that has surrendered its sovereignty to finance capital, writes Christian Salmon, 20 June. Translated from the French by David Broder. 

    Migrants use their survival coverings to shelter from the rain on the French-Italian border

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  • No way back: The recent attack on Suruc



    Perhaps one day historians will look at the bomb crater left behind by last week’s suicide attack on the Turkish-Syrian border town of Suruc, which left 32- left-wing students dead, and consider it a turning point in what is benignly referred to as ‘international relations’.

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Other books by Jeremy Harding