Immigration Controls, Captivity and Reproductive Injustice in Britain: Punishing illegalised migrant women from the Global South and separating children from their mothers

Seminar 1 in a series on ‘Race, Borders, and Global (Im)mobility’, convened by Dr Hanno Brankamp

Seminar abstract: The aim of this paper is to show how race, gender, class, sexuality, marital and migration status intersect to oppress, control and discipline poor and illegalised single migrant mothers and pregnant individuals from the Global South. Drawing upon evidence from three ethnographic studies conducted over a ten-year period, the article sheds light on the predicaments of women excluded from the welfare safety-net, who were flying under the radar due to the fear of deportation. It shows the ways in which the immigration and crime controls in Britain render them vulnerable to victimisation and harms. The major part of the article addresses the issues of imprisonment and punishment, treatment by the criminal justice system, and separation from children (who were put in foster care). The evidence strongly suggests that these controls disrupts the core principles of reproductive justice. This includes, reproductive autonomy and health, the right to have a child, to not have a child, and to parent the child in safe and healthy environment without fear. This amounts to racialised-gendered state violence.

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