Migrants and Citizens

Since March, I’ve been working on a new, in-depth project — the culmination of a cross-country US road trip, and a personal attempt to understand America’s immigration story.  There’s much more to come — including a podcast and a book — but in the meantime, here’s a website from some very talented people at ODI that shares a small part of the story, through long-form essay reflections, photos and audio interviews from some of those we met on the way.


All images: Jessie Parks

    Listen here to my documentary for BBC Radio 4 on the unexpected history of the Passport, first broadcast in May 2017

      Here’s an article I wrote for The Guardian on the unexpected welcome refugees receive in Clarkston, Georgia

        Here’s an article I wrote for The Washington Post on the parallels between Chinese Exclusion and Trump’s Travel Ban

          Here’s an article I wrote for The Guardian on the injustices of US H4 visas


            An early start this morning to talk about refugee crises and what the private sector can do to help end political paralysis in Europe on CNN: watch it here

              If you’ve not got time to read about migration, how about listening to this instead?  On this BBC Radio 4 podcast, first broadcast 29 July 2015, I talk about what it means when citizenship itself is for sale.  Are there some things that money shouldn’t buy?

                Now Available in Paperback Too!

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                Politicians from all sides compete to convince us they can fix our immigration “problem”. Apparently, if we want less inequality at home, we need less immigration from abroad. But what if this assumption is wrong?

                What if the drive to restrict migration isn’t reducing poverty here, but creating a migration system that is actually exacerbating local inequality?

                The Huddled Masses: Immigration and Inequality shows why we need to rethink the relationship between immigration and inequality, and avoid pursuing policies that pit poor immigrants against poor workers at the expense of both groups. It is short, accessible, and available as an e-book now.

                • Understanding the fear factor: challenging distorted views on migration
                • Ethics: working out what ‘fair’ migration means
                • European migration: open doors or Fortress Europe?
                • The Migration Industry: who profits from migration?
                • Asylum: exposing the limits of humanitarianism
                • Immigration and employment: do migrants take our jobs?
                • The social state: migration and welfare
                • Moving forward: the case for positive immigration policies

                Drawing on cutting-edge research, Long offers an incisive analysis of our migration system that shows how our efforts to restrict immigration are actually widening the gap between wealthy corporation and ordinary citizens. She exposes how companies like G4S and Serco profit from a billion-dollar migration industry while locking their own workers into a low-wage, low-skill economy; how stringent minimum income requirements mean half of Britons no longer have the right to marry a foreigner and bring their spouse to live with them in the UK; and how the UK Government – despite being a vocal opponent of EU freedom of movement – has repeatedly refused to assist the EU in efforts to crack down on the exploitation of cheap “posted” migrant labour, citing the need to protect British “competitiveness”.

                The Huddled Masses assesses the real contribution that migrants make to the economy, exploding the myth that migrants “take our jobs”. The data presented makes clear that immigration plays a critical role – both in terms of human capital and tax revenue – in sustaining the social institutions that offer citizens real protection against widening social and economic inequality.

                The migration debate is usually presented as a national problem: but as Long makes clear, we need to recognize migration is also a class issue. And this isn’t just about the immigrants: it’s about us too. The Huddled Masses concludes by outlining a number of pragmatic, progressive migration policies – from a new agricultural workers’ scheme to an expanded refugee resettlement programme – that could form the basis for a new, positive post-2015 migration consensus.