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This work assesses the impact of the increasing severity of border controls since they were first introduced and makes the controversial case for their abolition. It focuses on postwar immigration controls, especially the use of such controls against the peoples of former European colonies and East Europeans, and their effects on asylum seekers. It examines the recent history of European coordination of border controls and the notion of ""Fortress Europe"".;Hayter argues that the existence of controls leads to great suffering and abuse of human rights, and that immigration controls are racist and help legitimate racism. She also shows that immigration controls have actually had a limited impact on controlling numbers. To illustrate her arguments, she draws on empirical material, especially from Britain in the 1980s and 1990s, relating in particular to the use of detention, arbitrary decision-making and the denial of benefits. She compares British government policies with policies elsewhere in Europe and calls for the free movement of people and the abolition of border controls.