Border Criminologies is pleased to announce the publication of two books by our colleagues Dr Ana Aliverti (University of Warwick) and Dr Leanne Weber (Monash University). The first in the new series, Routledge Studies in Criminal Justice, Borders and Citizenship, these two books represent the cutting edge of criminological scholarship on border control. Aliverti and Weber combine detailed empirical research with theoretical and legal analysis, in order to move ahead our understanding of, respectively, the use of criminal law and police powers in regulating mobility.
In Crimes of Mobility, Ana Aliverti documents the role of criminal law in the enforcement of immigration controls over the last two decades in Britain. Notwithstanding the growing body of literature referring to the ‘criminalisation’ of migration, captured most famously by Juliet Stumpf’s term ‘crimmigration,’ we know surprisingly little about the extent or nature of this phenomenon. Drawing on interviews with legal practitioners and staff in the Home Office as well as on crown court and magistrate court data, Aliverti addresses this gap.
Documenting the changing legal landscape in the UK and exploring the impact of such changes in the courts, Aliverti reveals the intricate dynamics between the expressive and the instrumental functions of criminal law. While the criminal law undoubtedly gives the state additional powers against foreign citizens, for the most part, she finds a legal system in which the administrative powers of immigration law remains the preferred option. Despite the fiery populist rhetoric of ‘criminalising’ foreigners, the criminal law is used sparingly where an administrative option is possible; most cases are quickly disposed of, without much fanfare. Such muted power, does not, however, diminish its effect, nor change its outcome. The intersection of criminal and migration law strips foreign national individuals of rights that citizens take for granted.
Such precarity is also the order of the day in Policing Non-Citizens. Here, Leanne Weber explores how contemporary law enforcement practices in Australia are shifting in response to globalisation. Drawing on extensive empirical research conducted in New South Wales, as well as on theoretical debates within and beyond criminology, Weber explores how the police use immigration processes to regulate groups, individuals and activities deemed undesirable. As such, this study reveals the precariousness of those with irregular or temporary migration status and the ways policing cultures can drive the entanglement of migration and criminal justice endeavours. It foregrounds important theoretical and empirical trajectories for criminological research focused on internal borders and the ways these are operationalized and experienced by those charged with their patrol. While building on the important body of work on racial and ethnic discrimination in policing, the book is among the first systematically to address the issue of internal border controls.
In their descriptive detail and their theoretical breadth, these two studies reveal the intellectual and political potential of criminological analysis of border control. Whereas much of the discipline continues to act as though the criminal justice system is bounded by the nation state, both of these accounts show matters to be otherwise. We look forward to future books in the series.