When journalists write articles about whether countries are free or not, as with this piece in the Financial Times by Martin Wolf about India, they often rely on the ratings from Freedom House. Reading Wolf’s article, my interest was piqued concerning what Freedom House says about the post-Brexit UK, and specifically for the freedoms that it classes as “civil liberties”. Given that one recent major study — Chandran Kukathas’s Immigration and Freedom — makes a compelling argument that immigration restrictions involve extensive restrictions on everyone’s liberty, I was interested to see how this would be reflected both in Freedom House’s criteria and in its use of those criteria in country reports.

First of all then, Freedom House’s methodology. There would seem to be several relevant parts:

F4. Do laws, policies, and practices guarantee equal treatment of various segments of the population?

Do members of such groups face legal and/or de facto discrimination in areas including employment, education, and housing because of their identification with a particular group?

As I’ve discussed before on Crooked Timber, and as is extensively documented by Amelia Gentleman in her book The Windrush Betrayal, the UK’s hostile environment legislation, pioneered by then Home Secretary Theresa May, had the effect of denying to many people, particularly of Caribbean origin, employment, housing and health. Many children born to immigrants in the UK are denied access to higher education because of restrictive nationality laws.

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In view of the apparent end of what passed for democracy in Israel, it’s time for me to repost my comprehensive proposal for US policy covering all aspects of relationships between the US and the Middle East. It’s over the fold.
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