Research Handbook on International Law and Migration
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Research Handbook on International Law and Migration

Edited by Vincent Chetail and Céline Bauloz

Migration is a complex and multifaceted issue, and the current legal framework suffers from considerable ambiguity and lack of cohesive focus. This Handbook offers a comprehensive take on the intersection of law and migration studies and provides strategies for better understanding the potential of international legal norms in regulating migration. Authoritative analyses by the most renowned and knowledgeable experts in the field focus on important migration issues and challenge the current normative framework with new ways of thinking about the topic.
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Chapter 2: National security, terrorism and the securitization of migration

Idil Atak and FranÁois Crépeau


In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 11 September, the fear of terrorism led to the reinforcement of antiterrorist measures and of the security-related policy apparatus everywhere. The Madrid train bombings in 2004, followed by the London attacks a year later, further strengthened the security logic that has dominated asylum and immigration policies since the late 1970s. The security question has been framed in terms of cross-border movements. Connections between counter-terrorism, immigration and asylum are related to a more general assumption that the 'danger' comes from 'out there', from foreigners. Terrorism has been linked to the presence of foreigners in the national territory. Immigration measures have been integrated in antiterrorist strategies and used as a repressive tool. Policymakers authorized exponential growth in funding for immigration programmes with a connection to security. Conversely, counter-terrorism measures, such as control orders, administrative detention, listings and freezing of assets, directly targeted foreigners. Physical barriers have been increased as well as reliance on technology. Migration has become an issue in the context of national security policy. In the formulation and implementation of counter-terrorism strategies, principles of human rights law, refugee law and humanitarian law have been questioned. Despite increasing acknowledgment of the need for adequate protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms of migrants while countering terrorism, striking a balance between national security, on the one hand, and due protection of migrants' rights and freedoms, on the other, remains a challenge.

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