Yesterday I flew with British Airways to New York to attend the 108th Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association. My talk is entitled: ‘Deportation, non-deportability and precarious lives: the everyday lives of undocumented children in the UK’. The talk is based on this study on undocumented children and families I conducted at Compas with my colleague Vanessa Hughes. I had just got to my seat when the captain announced that the stewardess would soon pass around with landing slips – a small reminder I was venturing outside the protective shawl (if you are a EU citizen, and nowadays this is no longer enough) of the EU area of freedom of movement. The flight had not even began to move that each and every personal screen sprang to life with adverts of luxury hotels and expensive gadgets. One glossy advert in particular caught my attention: an international law firm specialized in citizenship and residency planning, showing images of wealthy business men and women shacking hands with smiling solicitors and lovely children running in beautiful and green parks. The message was: if you can afford our services, we can help you to buy permanent access, as a citizen or a resident, to wherever you want in the world and this is not any sort of dodgy promise, otherwise we wouldn’t advertise it so openly on British Airways. So, the lesson is, if you are rich and have access to good legal advice, no matter where you were born, you are a citizen of the world (ie. you can buy a ‘prestigious’ citizenship), if you are poor or even less rich and can’t afford an expensive lawyer, well if you travel, you are likely to be just another of those illegal migrants the UK government is so keen to sent home – power of advertising!
Reblogged this on Refugee Archives Blog.