Precarious Citizenship: Young People Who are Undocumented, Separated and Settled in the UK

 

Event Date: 1 June 2016

Room B01
Clore Management Building
Birkbeck, University of London
Torrington Square
London WC1E 7JL

The Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities in association with the Migrant and Refugee Children’s Legal Unit (MiCLU) presents:

Precarious Citizenship: Young People Who are Undocumented, Separated and Settled in the UK

A one-day conference for academics, practitioners and activists interested in how precarious citizenship impacts on separated youth as they live and transition to adulthood in the UK.

Significant numbers of young people who are settled in the UK (some 120,000) do not have British citizenship. Many have no ‘lawful’ status to remain in the UK whilst cuts to legal aid and fast-paced changes to immigration laws fuelled by a hostile anti-immigrant climate mean that this trend may indeed get worse with numbers rising. Many of these young people may have lived in the UK for many years and consider themselves to be British. Indeed, they may not be aware of their precarious citizenship until they leave school and try to apply for bank accounts, jobs, benefits or university or when they are leaving care or following a family breakdown. Their precarious status arises from the combination of their transition out of childhood, which gave them a degree of protection or insulation from immigration laws, and the discriminatory character of immigration law that means for many of these young people, despite being settled in the UK for many years, once they reach adulthood they cannot secure their British citizenship.

The purpose of this conference is to increase awareness of the precarious citizenship of this group of young people in the UK; to share empirical and theoretical knowledge about contemporary and historical forms of precarious citizenship at the intersection of youth and immigration; to develop a network of academics and practitioners who can take forward the study of precarious citizenship in young people’s lives, and to contribute to theoretical and policy development focused on this group; to engage with activists on effective political mobilisation of youth.

Migrant and Refugee Children’s Legal Unit
The Migrant and Refugee Children’s Legal Unit (MiCLU), hosted by Islington Law Centre, is a specialist legal, policy and training hub aimed at upholding and improving the rights of young people.  MiCLU’s Responsibility Shared legal education programme aims to increase awareness of child rights law amongst professionals who work directly with migrant and refugee children and young people in the UK, with the aim of improving quality advice and support provision for this vulnerable group. Responsibility Shared will offer free workshops and events across the UK, as well as webinars and e-learning tools available to all.

Programme:

Introduction by Jennifer Ang (Associate Lecturer in Law The Open University in Scotland) – Undocumented, Separated and Settled in the UK

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Baljeet Sandhu & Anna Skehan (Migrant and Refugee Children’s Legal Unit , MiCLU, Islington Law Centre) – An Overview

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Session 1: Precariousness in a Global Context

Chair: Dr Elaine Chase (Senior Lecturer, University of London Institute of Education)

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•    Dr Nando Sigona (Deputy Director, Institute for Research into Superdiversity (IRiS)) –  State-induced vulnerabilities and experiences of precariousness among undocumented children and youth

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•    Lilana Keith (Advocacy Officer, Borders, Detention and Children with Platform for International Co-operation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM)) –  Perspectives from Europe

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•    Dr Karen Wells (Reader, International Development & Childhood Studies, Birkbeck, University of London) – Perspectives from the US

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Session 2: Living with Precariousness: Young People Speak Out

Chair: Hannah Rushton (The Prince’s Trust)

Young people living with precariousness share their lived experiences through performances and presentations.

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Session 2: Living with Precariousness: Health and Education

Chair: Dr Matthew Hodes (Senior Lecturer in Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Imperial College London)

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•    Sheila Melzak (Consultant Child and Adolescent Psychotherapist, Clinical Director, Baobab Centre for Young Survivors in Exile) – Impact of precariousness on young people’s mental health

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•    Anna Miller (Right to Care Project Lead, Doctors of the World)-  Healthcare for migrant children: addressing barriers through policy and advocacy work

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•    Catherine Gladwell (Founder and Director, Refugee Support Network) –  Impact of precariousness on education: access, retention and barriers

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Session 2: Living with Precariousness: Young People and Transitions to Adulthood

Chair: Karen Goodman (Professional Officer, British Association of Social Workers)

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•    Hannah Rushton (Outreach Manager, The Prince’s Trust) – From governing the child to governing the migrant: the experiences of separated and settled undocumented youth in the UK

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•   Yesim Deveci (Senior Lecturer, University of East London) – ‘No papers:’ the hope and dreams, everyday lives and life histories of young people living with irregular immigration status in the UK

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•    Dr Ala Sirriyeh (Lecturer in Sociology, Keele University) – Foster care and transitions to adulthood for unaccompanied asylum seeking young people

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•    Tom Freegard (Senior Advice Officer, Centrepoint) – Homelessness: the experiences of undocumented youth

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Session 3: Addressing the Legal and Protection Needs of Precarious Citizenship

Chair: Kathryn Cronin (Head of Chambers, Garden Court Chambers)

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•    Anna Skehan (MiCLU, Islington Law Centre) – Challenges in becoming a British citizen

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•    Frances Trevena (Head of Policy and Programmes, Coram Children’s Legal Centre) – Growing Up in a Hostile Environment: Legal and policy challenges

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•    Ilona Pinter & Helen Connelly (The Children’s Society) – Cut Off from Justice: Access and barriers to legal aid

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Panel questions:

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Film: Brighter Futures London

Introduction to the Brighter Futures video:

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Session 4: Building a Migrant Rights Movement and Connections with Anti-racism

Chair: Dr Parvathi Raman (Chair, Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies, SOAS, University of London)

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•    Liz Fekete (Director, Institute of Race Relations (IRR))

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•    Dr Karen Wells (Reader, International Development & Childhood Studies, Birkbeck, University of London) –  Lessons from the US (DREAMERS)

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•    Agnes, Sharon, Arkam & Chrisann (Let Us Learn, hosted by Just for Kids Law) – Why we must focus on engaging and mobilising young leaders with lived experience

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•    Farzana Khan (Platform London, SHAKE! Young Voices in Arts, Media, Race & Power)  – Speak Out and Act Up!

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Summary and Close

•  Frances Webber (Vice-Chair of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR)) –  Reflections on the day

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Final Discussion:

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