The Dilemmas of Transnational Mobility
Introduction: theoretical framework and plan of the book This book is about a group of topics – irregular migration, migration control and the effects of migration – that has gained great prominence among the policy concerns in First World countries. But it is also one over which much confusion prevails. Concepts such as ‘illegal immigrant’, ‘economic migration’, ‘bogus asylum seeker’ and even ‘global terrorist’ have entered debates, often without clear deﬁnition, research evidence or careful analysis. Nowhere is this more obviously the case than in the UK, where a series of ‘moral panics’ about asylum seeking peaked in the early days of September 2001, with media stories about people from Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia ‘storming the Channel Tunnel’. When these, in turn, were driven off the front pages by the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon in the USA, the Home Secretary immediately announced a plan to improve internal security through identity cards, and an overhaul of the asylum system. The events of 11 September 2001 prompted a reappraisal of an emerging consensus in Europe around migration control. Institutions that had evolved in response to the worldwide rise in asylum seeking in the 1990s were being reconciled with the need for new recruitment, in response to skills shortages, bottlenecks in the supply of unskilled labour, and demographic imbalances. The crisis over terrorism and security added a dimension to the task of designing a multipurpose system. So there are certain fundamental tensions at the heart of all attempts to...
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