This explosive new volume brings together a lively cast of academics, activists, journalists, artists, and people directly impacted by asylum regimes to explain how current practices of asylum align with the neoliberal moment and to present their transformative visions for alternative systems and processes.
Through essays, artworks, photographs, infographics, and illustrations, Asylum for Sale: Profit and Protest in the Migration Industry regards the global asylum regime as an industry characterized by profit-making activity: brokers who facilitate border crossings for a fee; contractors and firms that erect walls, fences, and watchtowers while lobbying governments for bigger “security” budgets; corporations running private detention centers and “managing” deportations; private lawyers charging exorbitant fees; “expert” witnesses; and NGO staff establishing careers while placing asylum seekers into new regimes of monitored vulnerability.
Asylum for Sale challenges readers to move beyond questions of legal, moral, and humanitarian obligations that dominate popular debates regarding asylum seekers. Digging deeper, the authors focus on processes and actors often overlooked in mainstream analyses and on the trends increasingly rendering asylum available only to people with financial and cultural capital. Probing every aspect of the asylum process from crossings to aftermaths, the book provides an in-depth exploration of complex, international networks, policies, and norms that impact people seeking asylum around the world. In highlighting protest as well as profit, Asylum for Sale presents both critical analyses and proposed solutions for resisting and reshaping current and emerging immigration norms.
What People Are Saying
“As the frontiers of disaster capitalism expand, the same systems that drive migration are finding ever-more harrowing ways to criminalize and exploit the displaced. This book is part of how we fight back: connecting the extraordinary stories and insights of people studying, personally navigating, and creatively resisting the global asylum industry. An unparalleled resource.” Naomi Klein, author of On Fire: The Burning Case for the Green New Deal
“As long as there are borders and money to be made off the backs of migrants seeking freedom via the state, we must continue to expose the profit-makers and share our stories of resistance. Asylum for Sale does exactly this. It reminds us that our people will never be truly free under capitalism—and that we must not only challenge the capitalist state but destroy it and open borders for all. It is an urgent, inspiring, and necessary volume.” Jamila Hammami, founder of the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project
“A very important book. With a potent mix of theoretical rigor, empirical detail and vivid human witness, it helps to move the debate about asylum seekers beyond suffering and compassion to rights and resistance. In the process, it exposes the nature of the industry growing around asylum application systems; an industry of those demanding extortionate payments to overcome border fences, those erecting the fences, those detaining asylum seekers while they wait, the lawyers, the NGO—all with a self-interest in treating asylum seekers as voiceless victims without agency or capacity, pitted against citizens. This book conveys the possibilities of global citizenship, involving active solidarity with those who are crossing borders whether through choice or as a refusal of oppression. It is a vital resource for the struggle for global human rights—a struggle often led by those who are denied them.” Hilary Wainwright, author of A New Politics from the Left
About the Contributors
Siobhán McGuirk is an anthropologist, journalist, curator, and filmmaker whose work focuses on gender and sexuality in the context of migration and the affective impacts of social justice organizing. She is a postdoctoral early career researcher at Goldsmiths University of London and is a member of the editorial collective of Red Pepper magazine.
Adrienne Pine is a critical medical anthropologist whose work has explored the embodiment of structural violence and imperialism in Honduras, cross-cultural approaches to revolutionary nursing, and neoliberal fascism. She is associate professor at American University and author of Working Hard, Drinking Hard: On Violence and Survival in Honduras.
Seth M. Holmes is a cultural and medical anthropologist, physician, and faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley. He works on social hierarchies and health inequities, focusing on how such asymmetries are naturalized, normalized, and resisted in the context of transnational im/migration, agro-food systems, and health care. He is the author of Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States.
Table of Contents
Seth M. Holmes
Siobhan McGuirk and Adrienne Pine
On Seeking Refuge from an Undeclared War
The Business of Selling Life: Reflections from a Rescue Ship in the Mediterranean Sea
Alva, Uyi, and Madi
Trump and the USMCA: From Free Trade to Gassing Migrants
Outsourcing, Responsibility, and Refugee Claim-Making in Australia's Offshore Detention Regime
Kidneys without Borders-Asylum without Kidneys
II WAITING GAMES
From Paris to Lampedusa: The New Business of Migrant Detention in Europe
Detained Voices on Labor
The Poetics of Prison Protest
Behrouz Boochani and Omid Toftghian
Displacement, Commodification, and Profitmaking in Nigeria
Sidonia Lucia Kula and Oreva Olakpe
A Guard's Story
Sam Wallman, Nick Olle, Pat Grant, Pat Armstrong, and Sam Bungey
III COMPLEX INDUSTRIES/ INDUSTRIAL COMPLEXES
The Military and Security Industry: Promoting Europe's Refugee Regime
Making a Refugee Market in the Republic of Nauru
The Cost of Freedom
Making Profits in Hostile Environments: Asylum Accommodation Markets in the UK and Ireland
An "Expert" View of the Asylum Industry
In the Best Interest of Whom? Professional Humanitarians and Selfie Samaritans in the Danish Asylum Industry
The Marketization of Asylum Justice in the UK
Free Wireless Network Activism and the Industrial Media Infrastructures of Forced Migration
Tim Schutz and Monie Meisel
Surmounting the Hostile Environment: Reflections on Social Work Activism without Borders
Lynn King, Bridget Ng'andu, and Lauren Wroe
Neoliberalism and LGBT Asylum: A Play in Five Acts
Border Militarization in a Warming World: Climate Adaptation for the Rich and Powerful
Beds, Masks, and Prayers: Mexican Migrants, the Immigration Regime, and Investments in Social Exclusion in Canada Paloma E.Villegas
Contesting Profit Structures: Rejected Asylum Seekers between Modern Slavery and Autonomy
Jorinde Bijl and Sarah Nimjuhr
Grounded: Power, Profit, and the Deportation Industrial Complex
Ruth Potts and Jo Ram
Joel van Houdt