Asylum for Sale: Profit and Protest in the Migration Industry

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Editors: Siobhán McGuirk & Adrienne Pine
Strikes a crucial balance of critical analyses and proposed solutions for resisting and reshaping current and emerging immigration norms.


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Product ID: 4312 SKU: 9781629637822 Categories: , , Tags: , ,

This explosive new volume brings together a lively cast of academics, activists, journalists, artists, and people directly impacted by asylum regimes to explain how current practices of asylum align with the neoliberal moment, and to present their transformative visions for alternative systems and processes.

Through essays, artworks, photographs, infographics, and illustrations, Asylum for Sale: Profit and Protest in the Migration Industry regards the global asylum regime as an industry characterized by profit-making activity: brokers who demand extortionate fees to facilitate border crossings; contractors and firms that erect walls, fences, and watchtowers while lobbying governments for bigger “security” budgets; corporations running private detention centers and “managing” deportations; private lawyers charging exorbitant fees; “expert” witnesses building their reputations in courthouses; and NGO staff establishing careers while placing asylum seekers into new regimes of monitored vulnerability.

Asylum for Sale offers a fresh and wholly original perspective by challenging readers to move beyond questions of legal, moral, and humanitarian obligations that dominate popular debates regarding asylum seekers. Digging deeper, the authors focus on processes and actors often overlooked in mainstream analyses and on the trends increasingly rendering asylum available only to people with financial and cultural capital.

The reader is invited to carefully probe every aspect of the asylum process from crossings to aftermaths. Exhaustive in scope, the book covers a sweeping range of national contexts providing an in-depth exploration of complex, international networks, policies, and norms that impact and implicate people seeking asylum around the world. In highlighting protest as well as profit, Asylum for Sale strikes a crucial balance of critical analyses and proposed solutions for resisting and reshaping current and emerging immigration norms.


“As the frontiers of disaster capitalism expand, the same systems that drive migration are finding ever-more harrowing ways to criminalize and exploit the displaced. This book is part of how we fight back: connecting the extraordinary stories and insights of people studying, personally navigating, and creatively resisting the global asylum industry. An unparalleled resource.”
—Naomi Klein, author of On Fire: The Burning Case for the Green New Deal

“As long as there are borders and money to be made off the backs of migrants seeking freedom via the state, we must continue to expose the profit-makers and share our stories of resistance. Asylum for Sale does exactly this. It reminds us that our people will never be truly free under capitalism—and that we must not only challenge the capitalist state but destroy it and open borders for all. It is an urgent, inspiring, and necessary volume.”
—Jamila Hammami, founder of the Queer Detainee Empowerment Project

“A very important book. With a potent mix of theoretical rigor, empirical detail and vivid human witness, it helps to move the debate about asylum seekers beyond suffering and compassion to rights and resistance. In the process, it exposes the nature of the industry growing around asylum application systems; an industry of those demanding extortionate payments to overcome border fences, those erecting the fences, those detaining asylum seekers while they wait, the lawyers, the NGO—all with a self-interest in treating asylum seekers as voiceless victims without agency or capacity, pitted against citizens. This book conveys the possibilities of global citizenship, involving active solidarity with those who are crossing borders whether through choice or as a refusal of oppression. It is a vital resource for the struggle for global human rights—a struggle often led by those who are denied them.”
—Hilary Wainwright, author of A New Politics from the Left

About the Contributors:

  • Siobhán McGuirk is an anthropologist, journalist, curator, and filmmaker whose work focuses on gender and sexuality in the context of migration and the affective impacts of social justice organizing. She is a postdoctoral early career researcher at Goldsmiths University of London, and is a member of the editorial collective of Red Pepper magazine.
  • Adrienne Pine is a critical medical anthropologist whose work has explored the embodiment of structural violence and imperialism in Honduras, cross-cultural approaches to revolutionary nursing, and neoliberal fascism. She is assistant professor at the American University and author of Working Hard, Drinking Hard: On Violence and Survival in Honduras and Anatomy of a Coup.
  • Seth M. Holmes is a cultural and medical anthropologist, physician, and faculty member at the University of California, Berkeley. He works on social hierarchies and health inequities, focusing on how such asymmetries are naturalized, normalized, and resisted in the context of transnational im/migration, agro-food systems, and healthcare. He is the author of Fresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States.


Book details:
Editors: Siobhán McGuirk & Adrienne Pine • Foreword: Seth M. Holmes
Publisher: PM Press/Kairos
ISBN: 9781629637822
Published: Fall 2020
Format: Paperback
Size: 6 x 9
Page count: 320
Subjects: Immigration/Activism

Explore the Table of Contents HERE

See and hear editor interviews, book reviews, and other news on Siobhán McGuirk’s page HERE

See and hear editor interviews, book reviews, and other news on Adrienne Pine’s page HERE

Click here for one-page information sheet on this product

Weight 690 g