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Brexit, immigration and expanded markets of social control

Steven Hirschler (Department of Law and Criminology, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, UK)

Safer Communities

ISSN: 1757-8043

Article publication date: 9 October 2017




The purpose of this paper is to explore the implications of EU citizens’ exposure to UK immigration practices currently operating on non-EU migrants in the wake of the Brexit referendum.


This paper draws on recent literature analysing the impact of immigration as a factor in voter decision making during the Brexit referendum. It challenges Hollifield’s (1992) concept of the “liberal paradox” through an analysis of private security firms’ roles in contributing towards the expansion of immigration control markets. The paper concludes with a review of migrant experiences within prisons, detention facilities and dispersed housing for asylum seekers.


The findings suggest that the abandonment of EU citizens’ freedom of movement into the UK will result in their exposure to a privatised immigration control regime that contributes to the commodification of immigrants at the expense of human welfare.


This paper provides a conceptual link between the role of immigration in the Brexit referendum and the implications of expanding the population of persons subject to immigration control to include EU immigrants. It draws on current debates about privatised social control markets to illuminate the social impact of valorising migrant bodies.



Hirschler, S. (2017), "Brexit, immigration and expanded markets of social control", Safer Communities, Vol. 16 No. 4, pp. 176-185.



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Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited

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