‘My passport is just my way out of here’. Mixed-immigration status families, immigration enforcement and the citizenship implications

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Colleges, School and Institutes


In a context of sustained political attempts to reduce immigration and increase expulsions from the UK, mixed-immigration status relationships between citizens and precarious foreign nationals have arisen as key sites where the boundaries of national belonging are contested. These families are presented as inherently problematic: complicating the citizen/migrant binary and supposedly pitting family life against national immigration objectives. Drawing on the accounts of British female partners of ‘deportable’ men, the article examines the impact of immigration enforcement on the lives and senses of security and membership of the citizens close to the migrants targeted. It argues that the women discovered longstanding gendered and classed barriers to operationalising their citizenship privileges, which led to reconfigurations of their relationships with their government and understandings of the institution of citizenship. Their accounts illustrate how immigration controls
produce and discipline citizens, as well as migrants, exposing the internal hierarchies and conditionalities of citizenship.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
Early online date18 Jul 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jul 2019


  • citizenship, Immigration, class, gender, deportation, Family