Author Archives: Lali Foster

A warning from an Australian: do not let your immigration detention centres out of sight

I’ve been living on Lesbos since November. As a volunteer, and then as an NGO employee, I moved freely in and out of temporary accommodation sites for refugees (otherwise known as refugee camps) doing my daily work. When the EU-Turkey deal came into force and the EU started deporting newcomers to Turkey, the camps on […]

In Lesvos: a warm welcome to a cold winter

Please, lady, don’t choose the Ugg boots, anything but the goddamn Ugg boots. I’m in the clothes tent at a cliff-side refugee transit camp in Lesvos, Greece. It’s a slow day, so the Iraqi-Kurdish lady has time to pick out which shoes she’d like. Having just clambered out of dodgy boats, most refugees come to […]

A cleaning day at Moria camp, Lesvos

Everyone says today is eerily quiet. “Sinister” one other volunteer says. I wouldn’t know: this is my first visit to Moria – a refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesvos. Filled with thousands of refugees just days before, almost all of them have moved on. What’s more, the incoming boats have paused (update: I […]

Why all media outlets need to follow Al Jazeera’s example and start talking about Europe’s ‘refugee crisis’ right now

A couple of weeks back, Al Jazeera announced its new editorial policy to no longer use the word ‘migrant’ in the context of the European ‘migrant crisis’ and instead, use the term ‘refugee’. The justification for the decision, as stridently articulated by Al Jazeera’s online editor Barry Malone, is that: ‘The umbrella term migrant…has evolved […]

Displacing memories at Liverpool Street Station

It’s a rare thing: Liverpool Street Station is actually shimmering in London’s sunshine. Commuters trample and are trampled in return. This is one of the UK’s busiest railway stations. It’s clean, bright and corporate ─ just as it should be as the gateway to London’s financial district. But it’s still unmistakably Victorian: with lofty, glass-panelled […]

Migrationist Monthly: UK edition

“Migrationist Monthly” is a new series on The Migrationist. Once a month, we’ll be offering you a rundown of that month’s immigration news for selected countries in 500 words or less. The month began with a bad taste thanks to the Immigration Bill that just passed through the House of Commons. Already crammed with the […]

Hey Home Office, it’s time to stop and soul search

It can take a long time to get local. I live in East London but I’m not sure who my mayor or councillors are, I haven’t a favourite corner pub/curry place/kebab shop and I still hear the East Enders theme song when I’m on the bus. Somehow it’s too easy to overlook the local in […]

Looking beyond the law: the insanity of refugee status determination

Is promoting the Refugee Convention a massive waste of time? As long as international refugee law is transposed at the national level to the personal and unreviewable judgements of adjudicators within quasi or non-judicial settings, such advocacy barely scratches the surface. So it follows that scrutinising the asylum adjudication process must be an urgent matter. But how to […]

An eclipse of policy spheres: revisiting race relations and integration in Britain’s ‘liberal hour’

Britain’s Race Relations Acts of 1965 and 1968 are widely recognised as major triumphs within the period known as the ‘liberal hour’.[1] The heroic role of the Home Secretary, Roy Jenkins, the collective efforts of ‘race activists’ in advancing the second round of legislation, and the inspiration of the North American example have all made for […]

Finding the self in otherness: global journeys in autobiography

What happens when we work strictly within a genre or grouping? When it comes to literature, the outcome can be destructive and boring: we risk isolating creative works, huddling them too close together and becoming blind to their engagement with the outside world. In my last blog I suggested that a discussion of migrant literature […]