It is sometimes thought that Theresa May’s ‘hostile environment’ and the Brexit vote were watersheds in anti-immigrant feelings and policies, aberrations against years of relatively liberal attitudes towards immigration. Goodfellow ably dissects a lot of these myths, demonstrating that, even in the case of the traditionally pro-immigrant and liberal Labour Party, attitudes towards immigration were driven by political expediency rather than convictions and a somewhat fatuous desire to appeal to glib arguments around how immigration erodes societal values. Goodfellow also explores how arguments against immigration are often rooted in emotions rather than reason and that these emotions are often driven by prejudices and racism; one only need to look at the difference in reaction between people who migrate from Australia and India and the fact that laws which made it easier for Commonwealth citizens to migrate to the U.K were targeted at white citizens of the commonwealth.
Goodfellow argues forcefully for a rational argument of not only the benefits of immigration, ranging from economic to cultural, but on placing greater emphasis on the human side of immigration, which is too often homogenises all immigrants under a single pejorative term-whether it be ‘swarm’ or ‘mass’ and forgets that at the heart of it most immigrants are human beings whose sole aim is to seek to improve their lot in life. ‘Hostile Environment’ is a well written dissection of 50 years of immigration policy and argues forcefully and factually on the benefits immigration can bring.