Trends, Patterns and Control
Edited by Heinz Fassmann, Max Haller and David Lane
Chapter 14: Tracing, Identifying and Sorting. The Role of EU Migration Databases in the Internal Control on Irregular Migrants
14. Tracing, identifying and sorting: the role of EU migration databases in the internal control on irregular migrants Dennis Broeders INTRODUCTION 14.1 In recent years irregular migration has reached the top of the western European policy agenda. Much has been invested in the various images of the borders of the European Union and its member states. The view of a ‘Fortress Europe’ emerged to describe the development of policies aimed at keeping out (bogus) asylum seekers, irregular migrants and ‘unwanted’ immigrants in general. The external borders of the EU (including sea- and airports) have been transformed into formidable boundaries. Borders have been strengthened with guards, watchtowers, concrete and fences. They have also been equipped with state-of-the-art technology, such as infrared scanning devices, motion detectors and video surveillance. Moreover, visa requirements have been stepped up, and the visas themselves have been modernized and are increasingly difficult to forge. And yet, despite funding and political backing for the ‘fight against illegal immigration’ and the strengthening of borders and border control, the presence of irregular migrants remains a fact of life for most EU countries. The gradual realization that borders alone cannot halt irregular migration has led to a widening of the scope of immigration policy. Border control is ‘moving away from the border and outside the state’ (Lahav and Guiraudon 2000), or is becoming ‘remote control’ (Zolberg 2002) or is moving ‘upwards, downwards and outwards’ (Guiraudon 2001). Within these many transformations of the European border this chapter focuses on two developments. The...
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