Italy’s Immigration and Security Decree: A lose-lose outcome

Italy’s new Immigration and Security Decree has scrapped humanitarian protection and revoked a holistic approach to asylum seekers’ reception. This will result in an increase in irregularity, which will translate into marginalization and increasing insecurity for local communities, argues Chiara Marchetti.

Chiara Marchetti, University of Milan

Migration and security have always been the Lega party’s workhorses and its current leader, Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini, has built the party’s recent electoral success – constantly growing even after the March 2018 elections (according to the most recent data, it has now reached at least 30%) – right around these issues. Migrants have often been defined as a burden, as irregular aliens, or even as criminals, no matter what data showed. But the most recent developments have pushed this narrative’s normative boundaries. Now, it is not only migrants’ individual actions, but their exercise of the right to asylum itself that is criminalized. The Immigration and Security Decree, issued on October 2018 and converted into Law n. 132, attacks asylum seekers and the reception system as a whole. It inverts the image of migrants landing on the Italian shores. The impression is that they are not considered as subjects at risk, but, on the contrary, as risky subjects. Those escaping from Libya and trying to reach Europe are not to be rescued anymore, but to be pushed back. Because asylum seekers are generally suspected of being bogus, law 132/18 arranges for their confinement and control. And at the end of their asylum procedures, the possibility of being protected by a regular status has become almost a mirage. But it has not always been so.

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Fortress Hungary

Based on her ethnographic research in Hungary, Elżbieta M. Goździak reviews how the criminalization of refugees and asylum seekers has played a crucial part in the built-up of Viktor Orbán’s “Illiberal Democracy”.

Elżbieta M. Goździak, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań

On a crisp fall morning in 2016, Péter, my research assistant, and I were buying train tickets at the Keleti Railway Station to visit a refugee camp in Bicske, when we spotted a poster aimed at recruiting “border-hunters.” Intrigued by the poster, I nudged Péter to talk to the recruiters to learn more about this scheme. We learned that the Hungarian police was recruiting 3,000 “border-hunters” to join 10,000 police and soldiers patrolling a razor-wire fence built along the 175-meter long border with Serbia to stop refugees from crossing into Hungary.

In the summer of 2015, the same Keleti Railway Station became a de facto refugee camp for tens of thousands of people fleeing violence in the Middle East and Afghanistan. However, by the early 2017, the Hungarian border patrol reported detaining fewer than 200 refugees reaching Hungary’s southern border with Serbia a day. Ten thousand police and three thousand “border-hunters” to deal with a couple hundred refugees.

Having been born and lived in communist Poland for several decades, I am amazed that a country that once sat behind the Iron Curtain has adopted a build-a-wall mentality to keep out refugees and asylum seekers. My Hungarian friends remind me that Viktor Orbán, the Prime Minister of Hungary, has been building Fortress Hungary for some time now. Hungarian border police, guns in holsters, swagger in pairs alongside the fence in a scene reminiscent of the Cold War. The “border-hunters” are equipped with night-vision goggles, body heat detectors, and migrant-sniffing dogs.

At a swearing-in ceremony of border hunters in Budapest in the spring of 2017, a few months after our encounter with the recruiters, Viktor Orbán, whose anti-immigrant policies have gone down well with voters, said Hungary had to act to defend itself. The storm has not died, it has only subsided temporarily, he said.

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The UN Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees, Sovereignty and the New Populist Far-Right Global Network of Cooperation

Much of the heated debate surrounding the Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees shows that populist politics and strategies are no longer only done within national borders. By trying to make exclusive nationalism, ethno-pluralism and unlimited sovereignty acceptable and effective political rationales again, populist parties organize themselves as transnational, far-right networks. Regarding the Global Compacts, this led to a situation where Europe had to give up its alleged unified commitment to these global agreements. In the long run, the nationalist backlash, pushed forward by populist far-right networks, will question the role of the EU as a reliable actor in global cooperation.

François Boucher, University Paris 1 – Panthéon Sorbonne

Johanna Gördemann, University of Duisburg-Essen

Up until recently there was no formal UN organization dealing with all aspects of international migration. However, the 2015 migrants and refugee crisis has prompted a new era of global governance of international migration. Indeed, in September 2016, in response to the crisis, the UN General Assembly adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. The Declaration expresses solidarity towards all migrants, recognizes their special vulnerability and carries the promise of a strengthened international cooperation for the protection of the rights of all migrants and asylum seekers.  It claims that contemporary large migration fluxes “call for global approaches and global solutions. No one State can manage such movements on its own”.

To materialize this call for greater international cooperation on all aspects of migration, the Declaration committed UN Member States to work towards the adoption of two Global Compacts, The Global Compact on Refugees (GCR), and The Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). The former was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 17, 2018, while the latter was adopted by UN member states at an intergovernmental conference in Marrakech, Morocco, on December 11, 2018, and was formally endorsed by the UN General Assembly on December 19, 2018.

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The View from Germany: CEAS Reform and the Spectre of “Merkel’s Refugee Policy”

The German migration policy debate still widely assumes that Angela Merkel’s insistence on the primacy of European regulations over national laws is a position which strengthens migrants’ rights. But judging from the current state of the CEAS reform, this may no longer be the case. 

Therese Herrmann, University of Duisburg-Essen

One of the striking aspects of the ongoing German debate on migration policy three years from its crisis moment in 2015 is that the terms of the debate and the facts to which they refer have come so far apart that the debate can seem to chase ghosts. This month, Angela Merkel stepped down, after 18 years, as CDU party leader over her party’s slumping approval rates that many associate with a public dissatisfaction of her government’s handling of migration issues. But the ongoing political prominence of the migration policy debate not only ignores that the number of incoming asylum seekers in Germany is down below 2014 levels, it also seems to overlook that this is due to the ever stricter policies  Angela Merkel‘s coalition government introduced both at home and as part of a European executive.

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Pathways to Europe: Who we are

Pathways to Europe.Migration and Democracy is a forum of debate on migration in and to Europe, aimed at drawing together philosophical perspectives with political, legal and sociological analyses. The blog is edited by a group of researchers working together within the intra-European research Project Norms and Values in the European Migration and Refugee Crisis (NoVaMigra), but aims to provide a platform for a variety of authors and views. We welcome contributions from relevant disciplines on current issues and developments in the field of migration, asylum and European integration.

We encourage perspectives from different locations in Europe and are glad to publish reflections on national events pertaining to wider European developments. Literature reviews and conference reports are also welcome, as are requests to advertise relevant public events or calls for papers.

How to write for us

Submissions may be made in English or in another European language. If a language other than English is used, please include a two to three sentence teaser of your article in English. Blog posts are aimed at a wider political public and should not normally exceed 2000 words in length.

In-text-citations should be used where appropriate. Please cite literature references using the author-date system as follows:

  • One author: (Crawley 2015)
  • Two authors: (Sigona and Zetter 2014)
  • More than two authors: (Fiddian-Qasmiyeh et al. 2014)
  • Multiple citations: (Gibney 1999; Miller 2008)

For online references, please underline the text to be hyperlinked, and place the full URL in round brackets. For example:“The latest draft of the Global Compact on Refugees (http://www.unhcr.org/news/latest/2018/1/5a71f6914/unhcr-releases-draft-outlining-new-global-refugee-deal.html) provides the basis…”

Please do not use footnotes or endnotes for citations and bibliographic references.

Blog posts will be edited before submission, changes will be submitted to the author‘s consent before publication. Articles are published under a Creative Commons licence. Authors are welcome to republish their articles elsewhere, given that  crossposting is referenced.

To submit a blog post, please send an e-mail to Johanna Gördemann at johanna.goerdemann@uni-due.de . The proposal should be sent as an attachment in a Microsoft Word file.

 

Pathways to Europe.Migration and Democracy

Pathways to Europe.Migration and Democracy is a forum of debate on migration in and to Europe, aimed at drawing together philosophical perspectives with political, legal and sociological analyses. The blog is edited by a group of researchers working together within the intra-European research Project Norms and Values in the European Migration and Refugee Crisis (NoVaMigra), but aims to provide a platform for a variety of authors and views. We welcome contributions from relevant disciplines on current issues and developments in the field of migration, asylum and European integration.

We encourage perspectives from different locations in Europe and are glad to publish reflections on national events pertaining to wider European developments. Literature reviews and conference reports are also welcome, as are requests to advertise relevant public events or calls for papers.