This week, Indonesian domestic worker Erwiana Sulistyaningsih responded to the sentencing of the Hong Kong employer who severely physically abused her for many months with a call for the reform of domestic worker regulations, pointedly stating: “I hope the Hong Kong government can soon recognise we are workers in Hong Kong and we are not slaves.” In Italy, thousands attended an anti-immigration rally in Rome, while a counter-demonstration took place only a few hundred metres away; both held in large part as responses to Italy’s struggles to cope with the large numbers of migrants crossing the Mediterranean from Libya and Syria. In the US, Ernesto Javier Canepa Diaz was shot dead by police in Santa Ana, California. He was the third Mexican national to be killed by police in the country in the last month, and his death prompted condemnations and calls for response from the Mexican government and civil rights organizations. These stories, which represent only a tiny percentage of those filed with global news organizations on the topic of international immigration in just the last seven days, point instructively, and tragically, to some of the forms of violence that attend contemporary movements of people across borders as those movements come up against nationalist ideals, notions of identity and difference, austerity politics, security regimes, uneven labour geographies, and more.
Activists and policy-makers in countless sites respond in manifold ways to such violences, while scholars everywhere work to bolster these efforts. With this virtual theme issue, we, the Society and Space editors, have selected 17 pieces from the archives of Environment and Planning D: Society and Space and Environment and Planning A that fit within the frame of critical migration scholarship.
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