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Gregory White

The invocation of “climate refugees” as an inevitable outcome of climate change is now commonplace. For environmentalists on the political left, migrants displaced by anthropogenic climate change represent the “human face of climate change.” For the military and intelligence agencies, climate refugees pose a security threat since they will inevitably cross borders. Migration studies, however, cast doubt on the empirical validity of climate refugees; indeed, climate change may actually impede peoples’ abilities to move, especially great distances. In the end, injecting climate refugees into analyses of the expected impact of climate change supports a deepening anticipation of insecurity and abets militarization and a logic of border security.

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Ricard Zapata-Barrero and Lorenzo Gabrielli

This chapter analyzes the ethical implications of the securitization of migration, both in political discourse and policy practice, with a particular focus on border politics and admission policies. The chapter begins with an overview of recent literature on the ethics of migration from the angle of security. We demonstrate that there has emerged in recent years – in particular following the Seville European Council of 2002 – a growing tendency to treat origin countries as co-responsible for migration management. In tandem with this growing tendency, the scholarly world has fostered an increased interest in linking the actions of origin and reception states; recent studies in this vein have investigated circular migration, policy externalization, surveillance-based migration control, the migration–development nexus, and the notion of integration as a three-way process. Some other (largely international- and human rights-oriented) studies also incorporate a third actor that has heretofore been largely ignored by both the receiving and the origin countries: the migrant. We argue that, even if the framework has changed, destination states still monopolize the domain of security. Among the frameworks we examine in detail in this chapter include the picture of the Mediterranean Sea, termed by some the Mare Mortum, and the case of refugees vis-à-vis the growing European concern surrounding escapees from cruel wars.

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Roxanne Lynn Doty

This chapter examines the immigrant detention system in the United States with a particular focus on the relatively recent phenomenon of family detention. The number of individuals detained in the United States for immigration reasons has increased dramatically over the past few decades and especially so under the Obama administration. ICE’s (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) Office of Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) operates the largest detention and supervised release program in the country, using over 300 detention centers nationwide. Many of these are owned and/or operated by private corporations. The practice of detaining entire families including very young children began in 2006 and continues to the present. This chapter focuses on this situation within the broader immigrant detention complex and highlights the consequences of locking up children, the efforts to end this system and who benefits by it.

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Lauren Wilcox

This chapter critically examines the role of gender in contemporary securitized migration regimes, particularly insofar as such regimes are based upon a biometric ‘reading’ of bodies as the signifier of truth, safety, and security of ‘mobile individuals’. Security has become equated with transparency over the human body, particularly of ‘bodies in movement’. ‘The ‘body in movement’ is a key topic of feminist and queer analyses of migration regimes. This ‘body in movement’ takes on multiple meanings given the instability of the body to provide a stable signifier of gender despite various attempts by the state to secure gender via the regulation of moving bodies. I argue that migration regimes are first, a site for the regulation of gender in a way that also cannot be separated from racial assumptions in which what counts as ‘normal’ embodiment is inscribed in biometric devices, algorithms and the practices that surround their use. Second, gender and sexuality sites for regulation have led non-heterosexual and trans- identities becoming regulatory categories themselves, with consequences for those whose embodied experiences does not conform to expectation. Further, that gender has become securitized, with its consequences for the gender-nonconforming bodies, especially racialized bodies. As migration becomes increasingly criminalized, the security–migration nexus has become a site of increasing insecurity for non-gender conforming people in vast carceral networks.

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Anna Triandafyllidou

In the world of nation states where borders are fixed, international migration is regulated and often restricted. National borders are guarded and there is a whole border bureaucracy developing around border management including not just state actors (border guards, consulates, migration officers) but also non-governmental organisations (supporting migrants, or supporting victims of trafficking) international organisations (as in the case of the European Union the Frontex Agency for instance, or more generally IOM or the UNHCR) and private actors (that include travel agencies, employment agencies, but also criminal networks organising unauthorised entry, producing counterfeit documents and so on). Migrant smuggling is probably an activity as old as migration restrictions; it emerges along with irregular migration. However it is growing into a large business sector and a highly complex set of networks involving not just criminals but also local lay people who are providing services that are not per se illegal, to the smuggled migrants in transit. Indeed probably what is novel in the last fifteen years with regard to human smuggling is the professionalisation and global nature of the related networks and criminal organisations. Combating migrant smuggling has become a growing concern for governments and international organisations. This chapter starts with a set of definitions clarifying what is human smuggling and distinguishing it from related phenomena like irregular migration more generally or trafficking in human beings. Section two provides an overview of the evolution of irregular migration and smuggling worldwide, even though it should be noted that being an illegal phenomenon, it is not readily quantifiable nor fully known. The third section of the chapter discusses theoretical approaches to human smuggling, particularly the business versus the social network approach. Fourth, the chapter seeks to assess the security challenges that smuggling raises and how they can be best addressed.

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Edited by Philippe Bourbeau

This Handbook provides a state-of-the-art analysis of the critically important links between migration and security in a globalising world, and presents original contributions suggesting innovative and emerging frontiers in the study of the securitization of migration. Experts from different fields reflect on their respective conceptualisations of the migration-security nexus, and consider how an interdisciplinary and multifaceted dialogue can stimulate and enrich our understanding of the securitisation of migration in the contemporary world.
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Christopher Rudolph

International migration can significantly impact key challenges for governance: security, the economy, and social cohesion. How can states maximize economic gains without sacrificing security or fanning xenophobic impulses? In a seminal work, economist Robert Mundel (1957) posited that reducing impediments to trade (that is, free trade) could reduce factor movements, including migration. The appeal of the substitution theorem is readily apparent for policymakers: if states can garner the same economic gains while avoiding negative political externalities associated with population transfers, then they have managed to escape the catch-22 scenario that migration seems to present. Moreover, the “optimal” migration policy strategy would be embedded within its trade policy grand strategy. The big question, of course, is: Does this work in the “real world”? I address this question by providing a critical analysis of the substitution theorem that brings together perspectives from economics, political science, and sociology. When we apply this broad, interdisciplinary perspective to the fundamental assumptions on which the substitution theorem is based, it becomes clear that substitution between trade and migration flows is likely to operate only under very limited circumstances – circumstances that are generally not present in any real world context. Instead, a myriad of factors make it more likely that free trade is accompanied by increased levels of international migration, and as such, serve as complements in most scenarios. Moreover, even in situations where two countries may have an opportunity to move toward the equalization necessary to achieve substitution, exogenous factors intervene that may significantly delay such equalization. This could thwart substitution either by delaying convergence indefinitely, or produce a countervailing political consensus that withdraws from its original support for more open trade as political conditions change without substantial gains toward achieving equalization. Several factors that make substitution unlikely in real-world conditions: (1) dynamics of third party states; (2) migrant agency and social networks; (3) capital flows; and (4) service trade dynamics.

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Martin Geiger and Antoine Pécoud

While not new, the interest of international organisations (IOs) in migration has increased substantially since the 1990s. This chapter discusses (1) the reasons behind this growing interest, (2) the political positions and policy orientations defended by IOs and (3) their relationship to the securitisation of migration. IOs’ interest in migration is the product of several converging trends: the discovery of migration as a tool in development efforts; the broad interest in socio-economic issues that marked the post-Cold War era (like population issues, racism, and so on); and the (real or perceived) migration crisis that emerged in the 1990s, and that transformed migration into a ‘problem’ of high political importance, thereby legitimizing IOs’ ambition to contribute to find ‘solutions’. At first sight, IOs defend a set of balanced and comprehensive positions on migration policy: unlike many governments, they emphasise the positive impact of migration (on development or demography) and regularly call for more migration, while also stressing the need to protect vulnerable migrants from human rights abuse; they also take into account the interests of sending regions and the need to improve global living conditions. As with other fields of IOs’ interventions, this is formulated in a technocratic manner, exemplified by the frequent use to catchwords such as ‘migration management’. While these policy recommendations seem, at first sight, to be much less security-oriented than the political rhetoric and the policy measures that characterise receiving states, this chapter argues that IOs’ do play a role in the securitisation of migration: they indeed aim at ordering migration and at establishing normative guidelines regarding how people should cross borders; this leads to neat distinctions, for example between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ migration, and to apparently consensual and widely-accepted frameworks through which migration is apprehended, not only by governments but also by civil society groups, for example. In sum, while IOs defend softer positions than other actors, they nevertheless also contribute to the general perception that migration is a social phenomenon that must be steered, controlled – or ‘managed’.

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Alexander Caviedes

A key assertion within the securitization literature is that the media actively highlights elements of danger and threat within its coverage of immigration. The multiple disciplines engaged in analyzing the role that print and television news sources play in securitizing immigration provide a wealth of insight into the mechanisms employed, but they also ensure that the epistemology of this body of research varies extensively. This chapter explores theoretical questions such as whether securitization is actually occurring, whether it follows any trends, and whose interests this process serves. It surveys the variety of methodological approaches common in such research, pointing out how choices concerning the balance of qualitative versus quantitative analysis, the focus on specific temporal periods or geographic areas, and the selection of representative media can generate diverse conclusions. Indeed, beyond referencing the same foundational theories, research on securitization often pursues different questions, sometimes struggling to foster sufficient dialog between its different strands. The chapter concludes with a brief examination of security portrayals within newspaper articles on immigration in Germany, Spain and the UK. This empirical analysis illustrates some of the strengths and weaknesses of the various approaches, and grounds a call for a more systematic approach in studies on the role of media agents in the securitization of migration.

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Philippe Bourbeau