Deportability and the Family

Immigration Enforcement and Article 8 Rights: Mixed-Immigration Status Families

 Deportability-parentESRC-funded research at the University of Bristol has examined the intersection of family life and immigration enforcement, for families consisting of ‘deportable’ foreign national men and their British or EEA-national partners and children. As a result of their irregular or precarious immigration status, the men in these ‘mixed-immigration status families’ are liable to immigration enforcement measures, such as a prohibition against employment, immigration detention and forced removal from the UK. Their partners and children, in contrast, are exempt from British immigration controls on the basis of their citizenship.

The research explores the juggling of immigration precariousness and family life, and the impact of immigration status insecurity and enforcement on whole families, including children and British and EEA citizens. The research also investigates changing policy constructs and evaluations of fathers, the family and 'genuine' relationships, as well as the impact of new legislation around deportation and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (respect for one’s private and family life).

The project ran between 2014-17 and followed 30 mixed-immigration status families and couples. Additional interviews were conducted with ‘meso-level’ practitioners from state, NGO, private and legal sectors. Researchers also charted media and political rhetoric, and observed 30 immigration legal hearings, primarily deportation appeals and immigration bail hearings. 

Policy outputs

Project briefing: Immigration enforcement and Article 8 rights Mixed-status families (PDF, 283kB) (open access)

Policy briefing: Detention of fathers in the immigration system Detained fathers (PDF, 142kB) (open access)

Policy briefing: Deporting 'High Harm' foreign criminals Operation Nexus (PDF, 278kB) (open access)


Contact Melanie Griffiths 


Twitter: @MBEGriffiths


Blog posts

GRIFFITHS, M. 2018, New research shows the impact of deportation on mixed-immigration status familiesFree Movement blog. 

GRIFFITHS, M. & C. MORGAN. 2018, 'People like us just shouldn’t fall in love': how British immigration rules are separating fathers from their familiesThe Conversation

MORGAN, C. & M. GRIFFITHS. 2017, From British playgrounds to Immigration Removal Centres#Unlocked17, and Border Criminologies, University of Oxford. 

GRIFFITHS, M. 2016, Invisible fathers of immigration detention in the UKOpen Democracy

GRIFFITHS, M. 2016, Love, Legality and MasculinityBorder Criminologies, University of Oxford

GRIFFITHS, M. 2016, Boundary Making and the Broad Ripples of Immigration EnforcementCOMPAS, University of Oxford

GRIFFITHS, M. 2015, Gendering the IrregularCOMPAS and Border Criminologies, University of Oxford

GRIFFITHS, M. 2014, The course of true love never did run smoothCOMPAS, University of Oxford

GRIFFITHS, M. 2014, Detention, Deportation, and the FamilyBorder Criminologies, University of Oxford 

Academic outputs

GRIFFITHS, M. 2017, Foreign, Criminal: Doubly Damned Modern British FolkdevilCitizenship Studies, 21(5), 527-546

GRIFFITHS, M. 2017, Seeking asylum and the politics of family, Families, Relationships and Societies, 6 (1), 153-156

GRIFFITHS, M. 2017, The changing politics of time in the UK’s immigration system, in: Timespace and International Migration, MAVROUDI, E., CHRISTOU, A. & PAGE, B. (eds.), Camberley: Edward Elgar

GRIFFITHS, M. 2015, The Convergence of the Criminal and the Foreigner in the Production of Citizenship, in: Citizenship and its Others, ANDERSON, B. & HUGHES, V. (eds.), Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan


Project ethics:

Ethics clearance was obtained from the University of Bristol's Research Ethics Committee. Participation was voluntary and could be withdrawn at any point. Particular care and sensitivity was applied when interviewing individuals directly affected by the immigration system, following a specially-tailored ethics process. ‌

Research data files are stored securely on University of Bristol encrypted equipment and in line with the University’s data protection regulations. No sensitive information was recorded. All data has been anonymised and audio files deleted. 

This project was funded by the ESRC under Grant number ES/K009370/1. 


Edit this page