This chapter compares the imaginaries of the UK border by migrants, including asylum seekers and refugees, with those underpinning immigration and asylum policies. This exploration builds on qualitative data from the prestigious Horizon 2020 EU-funded PERCEPTIONS project. Using in-depth interviews conducted with migrants, asylum seekers, refugees, practitioners, experts, and law enforcement representatives, this chapter shows how for many people the UK is initially imagined as a place of freedom and opportunity, where they can find safety and protection. The border signals a barrier that once crossed will offer them a life of hope and security in a democratic country. These perceptions, however, can become contested imaginaries conflicting with the reality of living in the UK. As a result of asylum and immigration legislation that builds on a pull factor imaginary, such living conditions are often marked by discrimination, poverty, marginalisation, and the exacerbation of mental health issues. In addition to the various harms created by the legislation, we show that two types of self-bordering practices emerge from the conflict between migrants’ imaginaries and those upon which policies are built: one by which individuals separate themselves from their host society through internalised racism and one by which they separate themselves from their home community through the impossibility to share the reality of the hardship they face.
|Title of host publication||UK Borderscapes|
|Subtitle of host publication||Sites of Enforcement and Resistance|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Publisher||Taylor & Francis|
|Number of pages||18|
|Publication status||Published - 4 Sep 2023|