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What impacts the European debate about migration?

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What political values and involvements impact the European argument about migration? Discuss how it affects the international instruments for migration, refuge, policing, boundary line controls, condemnable and civil jurisprudence today.


Since the terminal of the Cold War, and possibly even more so in the context of Western responses to the events of 11 September 2001, the overpowering bulk of refugees are non offered refuge in the West. Rather than Alliess, they are now considered to be a security menace. Furthermore, economic migrators, one time welcomed as a necessary add-on to the labour force, are progressively perceived as a menace to security and a menace to occupations. The issue of in-migration in the EU has become progressively politicised and progressively securitised ( Huysmans 2006 ) , and has come to be a major factor in election runs across Europe.

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‘Managing in-migration is now “the greatest challenge confronting all European governments” , harmonizing to John Reid, Britain 's place secretary. Nicolas Sarkozy, interior curate and presidential campaigner, has launched a get-tough run that may force the issue up the docket in following twelvemonth 's Gallic presidential election. This summer 's break-up of the Dutch alliance was triggered by differences over the tough policy of the in-migration curate, Rita Verdonk’ ( Economist 2006 ) . This highlights how cardinal the argument on migration is to the political relations of states across Europe. Immigration has become a cardinal issue in European political relations, one on which elections can progressively be won or lost.

The European argument on migration encompasses values and involvements from across the political spectrum. Positions and beliefs about freedom, human rights, security, societal coherence, economic development and growing all play a portion in determining the European argument on migration. In this essay, I will concentrate on three of these issues – economic growing, human rights and security – analyzing which political values shape the economic, human rights and security statements which surround the in-migration argument. I will so look at how the argument has affected international instruments for migration, refuge, policing, boundary line controls, condemnable and civil jurisprudence in recent old ages.

Economic growing

By and large, those who prioritise economic growing have been in favor of increasing flexibleness in labour markets on the footing that free markets ( including free labor markets ) stimulate economic growing. However, as the Economist ( 2007 ) explains, ‘ [ I ] mmigration has become a complex and controversial issue for the EU, with economic benefits being weighed up against opposition from voters.’ Furthermore, while it may be considered good for economic growing at the macroeconomic degree, it is besides argued that in-migration takes occupations off from local workers ( and wages are frequently remitted to states of beginning – at least for first coevals immigrants ) therefore damaging community coherence and local economic systems. By and large, nevertheless, the economic growing statement comes down on the side of cut downing barriers to migration and points to the economic part of immigrants. The Economist ( 2006 ) , for illustration, argues that ‘governments should non seek to halt all in-migration, even if they could. Immigrants ain and run stores, serve in eating houses and staff infirmaries ( many of the physicians and nurses who work in Britain 's wellness service have trained abroad ) .’

Human rights

Human rights are besides normally cited as an statement in favor of leting in-migration or, at least, certain types of in-migration ( such as the granting of refuge ) . Indeed, international human rights instruments complement international refugee jurisprudence. As Gorlick ( 2003, 91 ) argues, the ‘development of law coming out of the UN human rights mechanisms is promoting and it provides a well-articulated legal foundation supportive of protagonism attempts on behalf of refugees.’ Human rights groups and administrations tend to be on the left of the political spectrum and be given to run for the carnival ( and normally more generous ) application of refuge. As economic and societal rights are progressively recognised as human rights, nevertheless, human rights claims can be used in the instance against leting migration by and large ( though non against asylum specifically ) on the footing that migrators take occupations off from national citizens.


Gibney ( 2001, 41 ) explains that ‘ [ s ] ecurity is, for the most portion, an instrumental value. That is, we want it because it enables us to gain other values, such as freedom, peace of head and justness. Its instrumental function suggests that the value of any addition in security is non absolute ; it needs to be weighed against the costs it might hold to the other of import values.’ This is really of import when sing have values and involvements are converted into policy: while it may be possible to procure something or person wholly against a specific menace, the steps needed to procure them may curtail other values such as freedom to such an extent that the cost outweighs the benefit of the reduced hazard or extra security. Weiner ( 1992, 103 ) extends this statement to see how differing values in differing societies will take to differing apprehensions of security: ‘ '' Security '' is a societal concept with different significances in different societies... Supplying a oasis for those who portion one 's values ( political freedom, for illustration ) is of import in some states, but non in others ; in some states, hence, an inflow of `` freedom combatants '' may non be regarded as a menace to security.’ This demonstrates that even amongst those who value ‘security’ and prioritize it in the European argument on migration, there can be broad divergency of positions on how this precedence should be reflected in policies and international instruments.


Rudolph ( 2003, 615 ) argues that ‘ [ w ] hat is endangering about the cloak-and-dagger entry of terrorists and the presence of sleeper cells in the fatherland is basically their invisibility—a ghost skulking in the shadows. Therefore, security would look to necessitate policies thatadditionvisibleness instead thanlesseningit.’ This provides a security-based statement to let in-migration, because legal in-migration is of course more seeable than illegal in-migration. However, this statement is non frequently applied in pattern. Generally, economic statements are made in favor of facilitaty inward migration and security statements are made to increase limitations on in-migration. The current tendency in Europe ( every bit good as the United States ) since the terminal of the Cold War and particularly since 9/11 has been to prioritize the security statements over the economic statements and this has resulted in a tightening of international in-migration controls.


As Loescher ( 2003, 11 ) argues, ‘ [ R ] efugees are perceived as destabilising to national, regional and international security and as triggers for regional instability. Everywhere baneful Torahs now exist to turn away refugees and curtail their rights This state of affairs is a important going from province pattern in the Cold War when – mostly for political intents – attitudes towards refugees were far more tolerant and welcoming.’ Asylum is a right of those who have a tenable fright of persecution in their place state, enshrined in the 1951 Geneva Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees ( which about half the provinces in the universe have signed up to ) . However, as Weiner ( 1992, 109 ) explains, refugees’ ‘requests for refuge have been scrutinized non merely for whether they have a tenable fright of persecution, but for whether their presence might represent a menace to the host state. Such frights, it should be noted, are sometimes overdone, and authoritiess have frequently gone to extreme lengths to protect themselves against low degree menaces but these frights are however non ever without foundation, particularly in the context of an addition in international terrorism.’ In fact, at different times and in different topographic points, allowing refuge has been seen as a agency of keeping international security, and non a menace to ( national or international ) security. In the EU today, nevertheless, the inclination is to cut down entree to asylum, chiefly on the footing of statements about the menace that refugees pose to national and international security. This is reflected in a tightening of refuge controls in most of Europe.

Patroling and boundary line controls

Again, in the instance of policing and boundary line controls, the comparative prioritisation of different issues has an impact of how policy develops. Not merely that, but even within a given or agreed prioritisation, there may be broad argument and difference over what is the best agencies to accomplish those values that are prioritised. Koslowski ( 2002, 173 ) explains that in seeking to cover with organized offense, for illustration, ‘ [ R ] ather than covering with the more hard issues of altering citizenship Torahs and suiting progressively multi-ethnic societies, during the late eightiess and early 1990s, policymakers focused on stepping up boundary line controls and fastening refuge constabularies. However, Hayter ( 2000 ) provides economic, human rights and security statements in favor of loosen uping boundary line controls. Indeed, she proposes get rid ofing them wholly. Blaming refugees, or even migration more by and large, for organized offense is non a new phenomenon. However, it is an statement that is frequently disputed by experts, including the constabulary ( Hayter, 2000, 31 ) .

Criminal and civil jurisprudence

As Guild & A ; Minderhoud ( 2006 ) explain, the interaction of condemnable jurisprudence and migration jurisprudence defines how civil autonomies are balanced against the public protection responsibilities of the authorities. They examine the interpolation of in-migration into condemnable jurisprudence in the European Union. There are two peculiarly interesting points here. The first is that the administrative processs environing the entry, abode and/or ejection of aliens are non capable to the same methods of due procedure as those in condemnable jurisprudence. The 2nd is that in the face of turning force per unit area to control and command in-migration, assorted facets of migration have become progressively criminalised in recent old ages in the EU.


The European argument on migration is influenced by a huge array of different political issues and values which pull policy in conflicting waies. The policy results at any given clip depend on which issues and policies carry most strength at that given clip. Therefore while the European economic systems are by and large working rather good and in the wake of two really high profile terrorist events ( 9/11 and 7/7 bombardments ) , the current tendency is for security concerns to rule the docket. It is non hard to conceive of that this state of affairs could be reversed in the hereafter, nevertheless, and that would probably take to a more welcoming and less restrictive attack to in-migration in Europe.


Economist ( 2006 ) ‘Migration megrim: Immigration is a Europe-wide concern. It is non clear, though, that it needs a European solution’ from the Economist ( print edition ) , 14 September 2006.

Economist ( 2007 ) ‘Turn back, huddled multitudes: The European Union hopes to stem the in-migration tide’ from the Economist Intelligence Unit ViewsWire 20 February 2007 ( downloaded from hypertext transfer protocol: // story_id=E1_RSNRSNP on 5 May 2007 )

Gibney, M. ( 2001 ) . Security and the moralss of refuge after 11 September.Forced Migration Review, 13, 40-42.

Gorlick, B. ( 2003 ) . Refugee Protection in Troubled Times: Contemplations on Institutional and Legal Developments at the Crossroads. In N. Steiner, M. Gibney, & A ; G. Loescher,Problems of Protection: The UNHCR, Refugees, and Human Rights( pp. 79-99 ) . London: Routledge.

Guild, E. & A ; Minderhoud, P. ( 2006 ) .Immigration and Criminal Law in the European Union: The Legal Measures and Social Consequences of Criminal Law in Member States on Trafficking and Smuggling in Human Beings.Leyden: Brill.

Hayter, T. ( 2000 ) .Open Boundary lines: The Case Against Immigration Controls.London: Pluto Press.

Huysmans, J. ( 2006 ) .The Politics of Insecurity: Fear, migration and refuge in the EU.Oxford: Routledge.

Koslowski, R. ( 2002 ) . ‘Immigration, Border Control and Aging Soceites in the European Union’ .The Brown Journal of World Affairs, VIII, 2 ( pp. 169-180 )

Loescher, G. ( 2003 ) . UNHCR at Fifty: Refugee Protection and World Politics. In N. Steiner, M. Gibney, & A ; G. Loescher,Problems of Protection: The UNHCR, Refugees, and Human Rights( pp. 3-18 ) . London: Routledge.

Rudolph, C. ( 2003 ) . Security and the Political Economy of International Migration.American Political Science Review, 97( 4 ) , 603-620.

Weiner, M. ( 1992 ) . Security, Stability, and International Migration.International Security, 17( 3 ) , 91-126.

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