1. News
  2. 2016
  3. February
  4. The constitutional rights of migrants
News from City, University of London
UK Border
Politics & Law Series: Expert Comment

The constitutional rights of migrants

On 2nd March 2016, The City Law School’s Professor Dan Wilsher will deliver his Inaugural Lecture titled ‘Immigration Control and the Control of Immigrants: Is there a difference?’
by John Stevenson (Senior Communications Officer)

Refugee man and his young child look upset and angered in a crowd behind barbed wire 

Professor of Law in The City Law School, Professor Dan Wilsher, will be addressing concerns around immigration control and the rights of migrants under the constitution, in his Inaugural Lecture on 2nd March 2016, titled, ‘Immigration Control and the Control of Immigrants: Is there a difference?’.

The lecture is the first lecture in The City Law School’s Spring Lecture Series and will take place in the Oliver Thompson Lecture Theatre, Northampton Square, at 6:15pm.

With net migration to the UK at record levels, much of the public and many politicians are in agreementDan Wilsher for action to be taken to deal with the situation. However, an unprecedented crisis situation regarding border control has developed with the large-scale movement of asylum seekers to Europe. Professor Wilsher believes that “policy-making in panic mode is however not always consistent with deeper values such as respect for the rule of law, human dignity and the inherent worth of individuals.” 

While largely forsaking racial discrimination, governments have deployed a wide range of measures such as detention alongside bans on working, marriage and access to welfare or justice. The reality is that migrants, particularly those with children, rapidly put down roots in host countries.

Finding a fair balance

Expulsion is often costly and difficult and yet ‘regularisation’ is politically fraught. 

Migrants may remain in a legal limbo for long periods. The idea of universal human rights is thus in tension with modern policies to curb irregular migration. Faced with competing pressures, the law always has to find a fair balance between constitutional and human rights protection as against the need for immigration control. In the end, if the rule of law is to survive, migrants cannot be excluded from the constitution.

Professor Wilsher’s lecture will consider the ways that the UK legal system has developed the ‘constitutional’ rights of migrants. It will also emphasize, given events in the Middle East, that the treatment of migrants wishing to enter and resettle in Europe (including the UK) may increasingly become a subject of constitutional concern for the courts and governments.

To register for this free event, please visit this weblink.

Net migration rate

The net migration rate for a given period of time is the difference between how many people come from other regions to live in the region being discussed, known as immigration and how many people leave the region to live elsewhere known as emigration. A positive net migration rate means that more people are moving into an area than are leaving it. Conversely, a negative net migration rate means that more people are moving out of an area than are moving into it.

Share this article