International Journal of Migration and Border Studies (13 papers in press)
Capital is Key: A Case for Migrants' Cultural Capital
by P.I. Echa
Abstract: In this paper, I argue that possession and utilization of capital are at the centre of migrants success and the ability to thrive in their new environment. Pierre Bourdieus Forms of Capital serve as a starting point in this research. While Bourdieus capital accounts for the structuring of the social world completely, this article concentrates on migrants' experiences in the Netherlands. This article shows how Bourdieus concept of capital illustrates how migrants capital brought from their home countries becomes a source of power, as well as the difference(s) between just surviving in their new environment and thriving. Ethnographic research, published works on the subject of the appropriation of capital by migrants, and statistical accounts in the Netherlands are used. These sources illustrate that migrants face challenging circumstances in the Netherlands due to discrimination, racism and lack of capital. I show how West African musicians thrive amidst these challenges through the possession of cultural capital (e.g. musical skills).
Keywords: capital; Bourdieu; West African musicians; djembe music; migration; transcultural; discrimination.
Borderzones and the Politics of Irregularisation: The Interim Federal Health Program and Torontos Everyday Places of Healthcare
by Laura Connoy
Abstract: Engaging with the concept of borderzones, this article critically analyses the irregularisation of refugee claimants residing in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Specifically, attention is placed on the Interim Federal Health Program (IFHP), a Federal health insurance program provided to refugee populations, and how it was experienced in everyday healthcare places. Drawing on semi-structured interviews with doctors, lawyers, social workers, and refugee claimants, this article empirically demonstrates irregularising bordering practices within these everyday places, and how refugee claimants and allies challenged such practices through, what I term, acts of liberating irregularity. Overall, this article sheds new light on the role of borders in the processes and politics of irregularisation within the Canadian asylum context.
Keywords: Borderzones; Irregularisation; Refugee Claimants; Interim Federal Health Program; Healthcare; Resistance; Acts; Toronto.
The Creativity of Coping: Alternative Tales of Moral Dilemmas among Migration Control Officers
by Annika Lindberg, Lisa Marie Borrelli
Abstract: Street-level bureaucrats are routinely exposed to the conflicting expectations of their political superiors, target groups, and the general public, especially when tasked with managing individuals with precarious political, legal, and social status. Moreover, officials are confronted with tasks that entail both complex discretionary decision-making and coercive measures, where they have to balance a professional ethos with their personal moral values. Building on ethnographic fieldwork, including participatory observations and semi-structured interviews conducted with street-level bureaucrats working with migration control in several European countries, the paper explores the moral balancing acts of officials regularly faced with harsh work realities. Apart from often-cited coping strategies of blame avoidance, indifference and dehumanisation, we highlight how bureaucrats confronted with morally uncomfortable and often Sisyphean tasks respond to these challenges with creativity and sometimes eccentric approaches to their work. In doing so, officials take active part in shaping the ethics of migration control.
Keywords: Street-level bureaucracy; migration control; border control; ethnography; law enforcement; European migration apparatus; moral dilemma; creativity; coping mechanisms.
Permanence Pending: How Young Chinese Temporary Migrants Hope to Stay in the UK
by Candice Hiu-Yan Yu
Abstract: Drawing on thirty in-depth qualitative interviews, this article examines the aspirations, constraints and abilities of young, highly educated, lower-middle and middle-class Chinese would-be-permanent migrants in the hope of prolonging their stay in the UK. It discusses the immigration and employment barriers, and stringent time-constraints that temporary migrants from China and Hong Kong face. This article argues that despite possessing adequate economic and cultural capital, and limited social capital, these migrants turn to marriage migration, the deployment of sexual capital, and the discourse of love as effective immigration strategies to achieve higher employability, better life chances and longer residence. This article emphasises migrants agency, and the highly contextual nature of sexual relations in transnational migration, which blurs the boundaries of love and sex-for-visa arrangement.
Keywords: Chinese temporary migrant; highly educated migrant; employment barriers; visa; sexual capital; marriage; agency; United Kingdom.
Crisis, Migration and the Consolidation of the EU Border Control Regime
by Giuseppe Campesi
Abstract: In this paper I will try to understand in what sense it is possible to talk of a migrant or refugee crisis in the EU. I will also consider the consequences a narrow interpretation of the crisis in terms of increasing migratory pressure has had for the evolution of the EU border control regime. I will first describe the essential features of this border control regime. I will then show how the intense public debate on the crisis has prevented public opinion from seeing how its root causes were not to be found in exogenous factors hitting the EU from the outside, but, rather, lie in the intrinsic weaknesses of the EU border control regime which the political instability in the Mediterranean region has brought to light. I will then look at the EU response to the crisis, showing how this has moved in the direction of an attempt to restore the EU border control regime. Finally, I will argue that the alleged crisis has brought about a further consolidation of the uneven political geography of the EU borders.
Keywords: Crisis; Emergency; Border Control; EU Migration Policies; Hotspot Approach; Frontex.
Special Issue on: Problematising Freedom of Movement in the ASEAN Region
Rubbery ASEAN: Mediating people-movement in Southeast Asia
by Linda Quayle
Abstract: Southeast Asians on the move are caught between a fluid region and a hard state, as Malaysian historian Farish Noor puts it. This formulation begs the question of where the regions foremost intergovernmental organization, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), is positioned in relation to these flows and gates. ASEAN intersects with people-movement in at least six interconnected domains: skilled and unskilled labour; connectivity and development; and security and protection. Embedded in all these areas are tensions between the need for mobility and the fear of mobility. Drawing on mobilities theory, this article argues that ASEAN-as-organization can best be characterized as a semi-soft entity, mediating between the fluidity created by Southeast Asians multi-layered and sometimes contradictory quests for opportunity and the rigidity represented by regional states deep-seated desire for control. As a result, ASEANs goals on people-movement reflect an undeniable ambivalence that leaves it open to charges of ineffectiveness, even duplicity. Yet this incoherence might be both an inevitable and also sometimes positive element of ASEANs shock-absorber role, as it both buffers and is imprinted by the dual pressures of fluidity and fixity.
Keywords: ASEAN; migration; skilled labour migration; unskilled labour migration; irregular migration; forced migration; internal migration; migrant protection; connectivity; development gap; securitization of people-movement; human trafficking; people smuggling; mobilities theory.
Explaining the lack of change in Southeast Asia: the practice of migrant worker rights in the 'ASEAN migration field'
by Ruji Auethavornpipat
Abstract: ASEAN's regional norms of sovereign equality, non-interference, consultation and consensus or the 'ASEAN way' are often used as a scapegoat for explaining the failure of ASEAN and, therefore, the lack of change in Southeast Asia. This perspective, however, does not suggest much about deeper state preferences that drive decision-making, even less so the processes in which ASEAN members arrive at their decisions. In contrast, this article contributes to the 'practice turn' in International Relations and argues that the success and failure of ASEAN regionalism very much depends on states background knowledge - the habitus that predisposes state actions. By examining the deadlock in the almost decade-long negotiations of the ASEAN instrument on the protection of migrant worker rights, this article sheds light on how Malaysia's past experiences with labour migration shape its current practice that is estranged from regional demands, hence creating its reluctance to compromise on the migrant worker rights agenda in ASEAN.
Keywords: ASEAN instrument negotiation; ASEAN migration field; ASEAN regionalism; 'ASEAN way '; capital; field; habitus; norm socialisation; Malaysia; migrant worker rights; Pierre Bourdieu; practice theory; practice turn; Southeast Asia.
Special Issue on: Governing Migration from the Margins Workshop Borders, (Dis)Order, and Exclusion Mapping Migration Governance from the Margins
A Visible Geography of Invisible Journeys: Central American Migration and the Politics of Survival
by Noelle Brigden
Abstract: Human rights groups have called undocumented Central American migrants the invisible victims of criminal violence in Mexico. However, the geography of the unauthorized migration route through Mexico is highly visible; its location, protocols and violent practices constitute common knowledge in the communities through which it cuts its path. This paper examines the visual cues of the route. Images of places, such as the trailhead, the river at the borders, the migrant shelter and the train yard, provide focal points that orient migrants to the physical terrain. These images also orient activists, providing potent symbols for political contestation in favor of migrants rights. However, visibility attracts criminal gangs who rob, kidnap and rape migrants, and the gaze of state officials who detain and deport migrants. Thus, this paper traces how geographic icons become beacons to migrants, activists, criminal predators and state actors, and it examines the nature of information and representation under this strategic interaction. It examines how victims and perpetrators become visible to one another.
Keywords: Central American migration; transit migration; migrant journeys; transnational routes; violence; migrant vulnerability; public images; clandestinity; ethnography; geography; Mexico.
Luxury Limbo: Temporal techniques of border control and the humanitarianisation of waiting
by Anne Mcnevin, Antje Missbach
Abstract: In this article, we examine temporal techniques of border control including prolonged periods of waiting, stasis, and indeterminacy that increasingly characterize the experience of refugees, asylum seekers and other irregular migrants. We argue that these temporal techniques are enhanced and legitimised by parallel efforts to improve accommodation for irregular migrants a process we call the humanitarianisation of waiting. We focus on the Indonesian context, where growing numbers of refugees wait for resettlement elsewhere, whilst housed in non-custodial Alternatives to Detention. We show how the promotion of Alternatives to Detention as humane and pragmatic enables containment strategies pursed through Migration Management to persist under a cloak of benevolence. The result is a kind of luxury limbo that refugees experience and through which it becomes harder to disentangle the managerial emphasis on migrant care from the more pernicious practices of border security. The papers analytical distinction between spatial and temporal techniques of border control illuminates the vexed politics of humanitarianism with respect to human mobility in the Indonesian context and beyond.
Keywords: alternatives to detention; borders; refugees; humanitarianism; temporality; Indonesia; Migration Management.
Immigrants or Children? The expulsion of unaccompanied minors from two California towns
by Olivia Ruiz
Abstract: This article analyzes civic mobilizations to oppose and welcome the arrival of unaccompanied children and adolescents from Central America and Mexico to two California towns in the summer of 2014. At first glance, the mobilizations appear to adhere to protectionist and humanitarian positions that have defined much recent debate concerning international migration. Digging deeper, however, it becomes clear that the dispute centered on disagreements concerning the young migrants identity -- on the one hand, as immigrants, on the other, as children and the association of both ascriptions with risk and vulnerability. To make their claims, contesting camps in the dispute drew on narratives about immigration as well as narratives about children and childhood. Ultimately, arguments that the young Central Americans and Mexicans posed a risk trumped appeals to their vulnerability as children. This article attempts to explain why and how that occurred.
Keywords: Immigrant children; risk and vulnerability; narratives of immigration; narratives of childhood.
The Mexico-Canada border: Extraterritorial border control and the production of economic refugees
by Julie E.E. Young
Abstract: By examining the Mexico-Canada border, I argue that the interplay between discourses of the bogus economic refugee and Canadas extraterritorial bordering practices is crucial to understanding human security in North America. The concept of the Mexico-Canada border is shorthand for how Canadian policies and practices aim to police Mexicos borders. For example, Canada implemented a visa requirement in 2009 in response to a surge in refugee claims by Mexican nationals. The term also signals how Mexico has been constructed as the focus of regional migration management, including through Canadas Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program to support policing and border security efforts within Mexico. Both initiatives contribute to a broader Canadian strategy of Mexican refugee deterrence.
Keywords: Refugees; refugee policy; border control; migration management; Canada; Mexico; North America.
The Ambiguous Architecture of Precarity: Temporary Protection, Everyday Living, and Migrant Journeys of Syrian Refugees
by Suzan ILCAN, Kim Rygiel, Feyzi Baban
Abstract: Millions of Syrians are currently displaced, living without adequate protection and assistance, and struggling to access residency, citizenship, and rights outlined in international, national, or European law. In drawing on and contributing to the critical migration scholarship, this paper examines responses to the Syrian refugee crisis as forming part of a broader repertoire of crisis management initiatives through which refugees are positioned in ways that confer gradations of illegality/legality, insecurity, and precarity to their status and mobility, the result of which is to contribute to a further undermining of the very idea of the refugee. The analysis demonstrates the complexities of temporary protection arrangements in relation to Syrian refugees precarious status and limited rights in Turkey, and their response to such precarity that involves undertaking dangerous migrant journeys to the EU in an effort to access greater protection and security. These journeys entail struggles though which precarious status and other similar arrangements are contested. rn
Keywords: Syrian refugee crisis; Turkey; refugees; precocity; temporary protection.
Proliferating Borders and Precarious Queers: Migrant Justice Organizing Beyond LGBT Inclusion
by Cynthia Wright
Abstract: LGBT refugees have rapidly moved up the agenda of the mainstream LGBT movement in Canada and many states in the global North. Yet the goal of LGBT refugee rights and inclusion in the nation has emerged at a conjuncture in which many states are systematically restricting spaces of asylum and mobility, introducing deeper precarity, surveillance, detention, and border violence in migrant lives. With proliferating borders, the growth of "irregular" crossings and "illegalized" people, what strategies might challenge state violence, controls on mobility, and the migrant/refugee binary? Drawing on recent literature on migrant precarity and non-citizenship in Canada, this essay focuses on bordering practices at the scale of the urban. It reflects on migrant justice organizing, including the self-organizing of failed claimants and migrants, in the context of Canadian cities. The article concludes with a call for a no border politics that can re-orient a queer politics of migration.
Keywords: migration; LGBT; queer immigration politics; homonationalism; neo-liberalism; refugees; borders; illegalization; detention; deportation; no borders.