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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars combines impeccable law with campaigning fire: terrific, 20 Aug 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Immigration Controls, the Family and the Welfare State: A Handbook of Law, Theory, Politics and Practice for Local Authority, Voluntary Sector and Welfare State Workers and Legal Advisors (Paperback)
Is anti-racist practice possible in the public and voluntary sectors, now that immigration controls have embedded themselves so firmly into most areas of the welfare state? Steve Cohen, who has managed to combine being one of the most respected immigration lawyers in the country with campaigning against immigration controls for over 25 years says that it is. Of course we all want to believe that, but Steve demonstrates how to develop such practice in different areas of social work practice, health, housing, education, even the probation service. The book is superb: each chapter is based on a case study and real examples of how to defend the rights of migrants and refugees and then explains the law completely, clearly and directly, recommends other resources and reading and examines good and bad practice critically, all with worked examples. This in itself would make it an excellent handbook, and one that is badly needed. But what makes it extraordinary is that Steve has also threaded the narrative of development of immigration controls and the sexism and racism that power them throughout the book, opening our eyes to the hidden histories there. On health, for example, he quotes Aneurin Bevan denouncing as "one of the curses of modern nationalism" the moves to deny NHS treatment to foreign nationals, only to capitulate within weeks and arrange for immigration officers to turn away anyone saying they were coming to the UK for treatment and amend the NHS Act to allow charges for non-residents.
Steve Cohen makes a persuasive case that opposition to immigration controls is necessary and the only logical position for anti-racists. His book shows how they have come to infest all areas of social provision. What makes it unique, however, is that he also shows those working in these fields what they can do about it, supported by his impeccable legal advice and fired by his commitment. It is also this translation of ideals into day to day practice (and his use of so many examples of successful cases and campaigns) that make it such a good read. This work is undervalued and difficult: Steve's book is an inspiration we need.
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